Did I say that yesterday was the hardest climb I have ever done? Well in
the Marines they say "the only easy day is yesterday". I have ridden the
Cormet de Roselend and Col du Pre from Bourg-St-Maurice a couple of
times but never up from Beaufort. From Beaufort, it is a 14km climb at
over 8% (Climb by bike has the max height wrong) and the final 7km from
Areches average 10%. Beaufort is also 40 miles from Annecy....
The day began with the usual check of Meteo France who said that the cloud would slowly burn off but it would get windy in the afternoon. So I selected the Cole du Pre for today's ride to give maximum time for the clouds to burn way. It was very atmospheric to start with, clouds clinging to the high mountains. Indeed they seemed so desperate to cling to the mountains that I was beginning to doubt the forecast.
The ride started with a 25 mile flat ride along the Piste Cyclable as
far as Ugine, at a cheeky average of 18mph. All those 'Dark Red' group
rides must be paying off. Rather than ride via Albertville, I took the
short-cut via the Col de Forclaz de Queige, which is a proper climb with
almost 500m vertical gain in less than 7km with a 10% stretch in the
middle. Two years ago I did it an injustice as I finished before the Col
proper, there is a proper col sign:
|Col de la Forclaz de Queige (back on the Madone today)|
It was a testing descent too so I decided that on the way back I would
go the long way round via Albertville. Back down in the valley I had the
gentle climb to Beaufort, though there were a couple of testing
sections. Beaufort is famous for a lovely mountain cheese in the Gruyere
/ Comte style and also has a lovely cafe / Patisserie that I have
visited before; today is Monday, it was closed. I popped into a store
for some water and something to eat but the sandwiches didn't look very
appealing and it seems that they have taken the "cut back on impulse
sales of sweets" directive to heart; I needed a pick-me-up, but not a 4
pack of Lion Bars or a 3-pack of Toblerone. Reminds me of a club member
(who shall remain nameless) who after the Cheshire Cat eat 3 family size
bags of Liquorice Allsorts. Its not so much the eating, we all like a
Bertie Basset, but why would you
have 3 bags in your car? I settled on a local chocolate bar with
nuts, a sort of French rip off of Milka and continued my way.
This was the start of the Col du Pre; 14 km averaging over 8% with the final 7km averaging 10%. A tough climb. I have descended it before but this was an eye-opener. Give credit to the guys (and girls) at Meteo France, the cloud was lifting as predicted meaning that I wasn't going to be climbing into mist, though unfortunately when I finally reached the top I couldn't see Mont Blanc, though there great views over the Barrage de Roselend. I dropped over the other side and considered continuing up the Cormet de Roseland but by this time I had already done 50 miles and the energy from the chocolate bar was gone. There are no shortages of cafes around here, but I thought I would go to the same one from a few years back, but it was Monday and it was closed.
I looked longingly up towards the peak but mindful of another big day planned for tomorrow, I reluctantly turned back. I had considered taking the car a little way but I knew that by riding all the way, I would get 100 miles in. Plus the Col du Pre was my main target of the day. The descent to Beaufort was fast, where I had stopped for lunch, but the section to Albertville, though downhill, was tough due to the wind. I didn't match the speeds from a few years ago with Martin, Terry & Mike, when we had a six-up TT.
The ride from Albertville to Faverges was tough due to the slight gradient - the Garmin was saying a steady 2 %. Does that sound right for an old railway line? But when I crossed over the watershed the slight descent counteracted the wind and I had a faster ride in to Annecy. The piste cyclable is very busy with bikes of all sorts; commuters on electric bikes, tourists on all sorts of bikes and the local racers ripping it up on their Looks, Times and Lapierres. I also saw an electric tandem - how niche is that?
Back at the hotel, I had a quick tour around the car park to ensure the 100 miles was brought up. I have no idea how much climbing I have done; the GPX file says 2,978, the Garmin's inbuilt barometer (which is rubbish, again it was telling me that steep sections were 0%) says 2,168m and the profile picture suggests around 2,200m. We will just agree on more than 2000!
|Today's route map - note the short cut avoiding Albertville in one direction|
|The Col du Pre - on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc|
|The Barrage and Lac du Roselend|
|The Cormet (Col) de Roselend is up there|