This ride isn’t as hard as it sounds, you won’t be riding through 100 valleys! It’s actually named after the hundred valleys area just east of here. On our doorstep, there are lots of quiet valley roads, so you can enjoy looking at the hills without having to ride up too many of them. In the hundred valleys there are no flat roads at all, so it’s a great destination for a challenge ride. What’s more it’s wilder and even less populated than we have on our doorstep. The houses change from the mediteranean tiled roofs we have here, to steeply pitched slate roofs. It might not sound like much, but it completely changes the character of the places you ride through and makes you feel like you’ve been on a long journey.
There’s a nice long flat warm-up along our valley, with an early coffee stop if that’s your thing, but then the hills start. We’re straight into an area which is one of my favourites. The roads are mostly very narrow with no traffic but lots of hairpins. In the villages, which are few and far between, it seems like time has stood still for centuries. Suddenly we drop back down into the Aveyron valley for lunch at the tourist honeypot of Belcastel.
The return ride follows and incredible ridge route to a second food stop at Villefranche. Villefranche has a well preserved medieval centre but is way off the tourist trail and is all the better for it. If you’re a fan of 1960s shop signs, you’ll love it!
The end is in sight as we roll through the spectacularly sited ridgetop village of Najac and over the rolling hills back towards St Antonin. We finish with a white-knuckle plunge down into town with spectacular views across the gorge.