Based on some recommendations for cycling in Corsica and thanks to the information about the Randonnée des Cols Corses I found on your website I decided to complete the Randonnée last September, 2013.
Unfortunately my attempt to contact the authorities of Cyclos Randonneurs Thononais failed so I went to Corsica without the possibility of getting the ‘Randonnée medal’. I don't know if they still work. Nevertheless, I followed the Randonnée map and it took me total of 19 days and a distance of 1,697 km starting and finishing in Ajaccio plus a 1 day of hike up to Mt Cinto, Corsica’s highest mountain at 2,706m.
Some facts from my trip:
- Corsica is pretty hilly but the country is stunning.
- September seems to be an ideal time for such trip, not so hot anymore, only 2 days of rain from total of 30 but higher in the mountains, it was already cold.
- I am originally from Czech but now live in Norway. Corsica was quite expensive, to some extent comparable to Norway.
- Luckily I didn't have any punctures. On some recommendations I ran Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres with thick self repairing inner tubes. This increased the wheelset weight close to 6 kg but the ride was safe then.
- My MTB frame was built from top quality Japanese double butted CrMo Tange and equipped with a Shimano Exage bulletproof group-set. The butted frame is not an advantage here but luckily everything survived. The lightest gear ratio for 26" wheels and such heavy bike (30 kg plus food and water) must be 0.8 (Ed’s note: 22 chainring and 27 cog) or lower, a 2.7 ratio is is enough for top speed on descents.
- Potable water is everywhere thanks to fountains spread all over the country, in mountains and villages
- Food in Corsica doesn't cause any problems. I cooked food every day, typically some pasta with corned beef or tuna and some local cheese.
- I had my tent and camped mostly on campsites - usually 10 euros per night. I never need to reserve a place in advance. It's not that easy to find flat spots to camp outside of the sites and you have to be careful to avoid private land.
- If I’d travelled light on an organized and supported trip and just carried spare parts like tubes, tools etc then I think it is feasible to complete the Randonnée in less then 14 days. With all my stuff I cycled on average for 4-5 hours each day and covered around 85 km.
- The most beautiful place was Bonifacio so after I finished the Randonnée I spent the last few days there, hiking around the coast and having a nice relaxing time.
- It was great trip and I will not hesitate to repeat it again.
The pictures show my bicycle in front of the highest Col, Vergio at 1,497m and me at the summit of Mt Cinto.
Norway, Jan 2014