I’m pleased to report that this morning we actually got a lie in, setting my alarm for 7.30am last night was a joyous thing. We got on the road at 8.30am and headed out of Briancon through the foothills of the Hautes-Alpes, feeling refreshed and ready for our relatively short 200km drive.
During our map meeting this morning we identified our two static shots for the day, both at the top of two mountain passes – one of which was Col de la Bonette the highest paved road in Europe, at 8907ft. We filmed the guys leaving the hotel and then got ahead of them on the pass to set up in time for them to come through. We didn’t realise that the satnav would take us via an unpaved road so producer Sam had to get his Colin McRae driving on and rally our way to the top in the heavily laden, but always trusty CRV.
Once we’d cleared the rally special stage we continued up the pass and set up our first shot – three cameras, one crane one static and one pan. We were surrounded by long grass and for some reason there were hundreds of flies and bugs that kept swarming us and the cameras. Needless to say once the guys had passed through we weren’t hanging around and got straight back on the road to follow them up to the top of Col de la Bonette. Shooting a documentary like this is always tough because after each new corner and even more beautiful scene unfolds before you. We climbed high in to the mountains, past glacial streams, pockets of snow that hadn’t been thawed by the sun and even had to avoid a couple of beavers running across the road.
Once we reached the top, the group took a few minutes to enjoy the scenery and interview a few of the team. The views were absolutely breathtaking.
The snow ploughs were still at work clearing closed roads at that altitude.
For the ride down I hopped on to the back of Ian’s bike (Senior Product Planner for Honda) and he did a superb job of enabling me to shoot bike to bike as we made our way down the pass.
I think the road from the top of Col de la Bonette to Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée is one of the best roads we’ve ridden so far on the tour. There was hardly any traffic on the road, with clear views of the next three or four corners and lovely tarmac. The group pushed their bikes hard and loved every minute of it judging by the smiles on their faces at the bottom.
The rest of the crew had gone on ahead again whilst we stopped for a coffee break and filmed us as we passed through Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée. From there it was a forty five minute A-road blast towards Nice and our hotel in Cagnes Sur Mer.
Considering we typically arrive at our hotel around 8-9pm, being checked in and unpacked by 3pm was absolute bliss. Even had a chance to have a little paddle in the sea before coming back to the room to dump footage and prepare for dinner this evening. We’re shooting some interviews with the riders later to get their thoughts of the trip so far. Everyone will be getting an early night tonight though as tomorrow we’re up at 4.30am (!) in time to get to the ferry from Nice to Corsica at 6.30am. Wish us luck!