French Alps rides?

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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Dalai
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by Dalai

Thanks owl. Though I think I might pass on the Finestre though... :shock:

I've moved my flight from Lyon, so the trip is now definitely extended for just short of an additional two weeks!

Mr.Gib - I've tentatively booked to stay at Rencurel. How long would you expect it to take to drive to Lyon Airport from there? I ask as I am not sure if I stay there the last night and leave first thing to get to the airport. Or best to leave the afternoon before, staying closer to the airport so I can just cruise in the next morning for my 9.55am flight... ViaMichelin maps suggested 1hr 22 min for the journey to the airport?

Mr.Gib
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

Sorry Dalai, no idea. I rode from Rencurel through Die in Provence and back up through the Alps, Bourg D'Oison - Alberville - etc. to Geneva. Flew home from there.

Vercors will blow you away. Be super cautious, the roads are wild. Sometimes you fly around a corner and it's a single lane tunnel with a tour bus coming at you. Go with good tires, keep the pressure down a bit and use brakes and wheels you can trust. Have fun, jealous.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

by Weenie


Dalai
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by Dalai

Thanks for the tips. I have just emailed the hotel how long I'll take to drive to Lyon St Exupery and will decide whether to risk driving to the airport that morning or just drive the afternoon before and stay closer...

Thanks for the Vercors tip, looking forward to staying in that hotel and riding those roads, even if it only ends up being 2 1/2 days there. Amazing how they are cut into the side of the cliffs!

Mr.Gib
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

If you just have two days you must ride Combe Laval and Gorge du Nan. It's possible to include both in a single loop or you can break them up. When you get back let us know how it went and some photos would be nice. Tip: Combe Laval should be approached from Col de la Machine.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

dolophonic
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:43 am
Location: The 'Dena

by dolophonic

We just rode the Fenestere. It's a must do. Amazing climb.

ponka00
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:15 pm

by ponka00

I'm going to France this summer with a couple of mates. We are staying in Bourg, despite the fact that it may seem gloom. It is in a great location and we will be riding all day anyway :noidea:

I have read up on all the climbs in the area, but what about the descents? After some tough climbing you have to give yourself a treat, no? :P

Are there any that stands out for you guys?

Mr.Gib
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Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

For descents close to Bourg the back side of Col de Solude that connects to Col d'Ornon - very good surface. But the top of Solude is unpaved with grass growing in the middle - totally worth it though. Definitely do not reverse direction on this loop - not safe.

Sneak out of Alpe D'Huez on Col de Sarenne - wicked technical descent - watch for sheep. There is also a way to climb back up to the cliff road and re-connect with the bottom half of L'Alpe - a nice circuit.

The Glandon leaving Bourg is perfect IMO but coming toward Bourg requires intense focus - tricky and scary fast with trees close to the road. Thee Madeleine can be great but depending on the direction the Madeleine can wear you out. Descending into Albertville is very rough in places unless it has been resurfaced. There were times where my vision blurred from the vibration, got launched into the air a few times, and had to stop twice because my hands got so fatigued. We were going all out but still that can be a tough one. Going away from Alberville back toward St Etienne is almost perfect though.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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dgasmd
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Location: South Florida

by dgasmd

The only thing I mildly enjoyed about the Col de Galibier was the descend. If it is cold and/or wet, god save you! Same for Alp D'Huez. Much further south on the Alps, the Col de Turini was by far the most fun/scary descend. I re-named it the Col of Death!! Also, the Col D'Iseran and Cold de la Colombiere descends were very long and nice. You can certainly pick up some massive speed depending on traffic.

basilic
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

The only way not to enjoy a descent is to have to deal with car traffic. #1 rule: do not ride on a red road if there is a yellow road, don't ride a yellow if there is a white road (speaking in Michelin map code).
In terms of smooth/fast, a great road is Bonnette down to Jausiers. The surface is perfect (was last summer), and you can see quite far ahead, 2-3 curves, it feels like skiing.
Turini is great fun. There are 3 roads: the west side to Vésubie is nice enough, the South-East to Sospel I don't know, but the South side has a stretch on D21 with a long series of short switchbacks where you can get into a rhythm. The surface is poor, so you just go a bit slower, and the last second line adjustments to avoid stuff are part of the fun.

Dalai
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by Dalai

Has anyone riden over the Col de Larche recently?

On the Ubaye valley website it lists the Col de Larche closed to cyclists due to a section of road known as 'La Rochaille' closed to all traffic smaller than a motorbike...

If this is the case it will mean not being able to ride the the Col de la Bonnette, Col de la Lombarde loop and Col de Larche loop!

LionelB
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

Dalai wrote:Has anyone riden over the Col de Larche recently?

On the Ubaye valley website it lists the Col de Larche closed to cyclists due to a section of road known as 'La Rochaille' closed to all traffic smaller than a motorbike...

If this is the case it will mean not being able to ride the the Col de la Bonnette, Col de la Lombarde loop and Col de Larche loop!

Yeah, forget that sign. It's not an issue.

Dalai
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

by Dalai

Thanks LionelB :thumbup:

pastronef
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Location: Asti, ITALIA

by pastronef

yesterday i climbed the Izoard.
I went to Guillestre by car (about 3h drive from Asti, Piedmont) and I stopped just outside the town. the Gorges road was blocked by works, so cars and cyclists, many, had to tackle a 4 kms road on the side of the mountain (2 kms up, 2 kms downhill) not a good beginning.
anyway, the normal road began again at la Maison du Roy, a big false flat uphill, and i had luck with a nice back wind.
at 10.15am the air was still fresh. i saved my legs on the false flat, not pushing much. after a few kms, i guess 7, and 2 hairpins I turned left. the other road heads to the Col d'Agnel, french side.
there was a bunch of cyclists from a club from Castres scattered all over the mountain, they were 15-20 i guess.
now it began to be steeper, even if some stretches give some rest.
the tough part was still to come. the road goes through Arvieux. and after brunissard there is this long straight and steep part before the hairpins. i used a 34x21 until arvieux, then 34x23 after brunissard. the last part in the wood is steep too, but the haipirns give you some breath. every km you have a panel with the altitude and the percentage.
there is a 500m downhill before the Coppi and Bobet monument, and the "casse deserte". after the downhill i put the 34x25 (i saved it for the last part)
a few very nice, and steep hairpins, with not much wind, and i reached the sommet.
i had an espresso and a chocolate snack at the little bar at the top and put my gilet and began the downhill, on the same side i climbed.
it was sunny but cold, i had no arm warmers, and that decathlon yellow gilet without sleeves stops the air :thumbup: but does not keep you warm :roll: . as soon as i got in the wood the temperature raised a bit and the trees blocked the wind.
the wind over brunissard was a head wind, as it remained until guillestre. i met a schweizer-deutsch guy in the descent, he had a flat, but was with a group of friends, they had a van and 2 motorbikes following them. so we did all the false flat to la Maison du Roy taking turns. they went to the col the Vars, i went to the car to eat and drink. it was 12.45.

what i learned:
you must eat, more than you are used to for the normal mixed 2-3 hours on the home hills.
the air is very different, you can feel it as soon as you stop the car walk around and begin to prepare, and as you get higher you feel it more and more.
always wear an undershirt, if you are warm open the jersey.
dont kill yourself down the valley on the national roads, you'll pay it on the climbs, luckily i didn't ride on the "flat" national road before the Izoard, but in the afternoon.. i did :lol:
sometimes you are so concentrated on the pedalling and not loosing the momentum, you just watch the road and your front wheel and you dont enjoy the panorama and the view, but i did it in the downhill, breaking a little more and looking around.

by the way, after having slowly eaten 1 sandwich, 2 mini croissants, half chocolate snack, 1 mini jam cakes i went with the car to Savines le Lac and parked (there is this nice big reservoir lake, with the famous bridge, the reservoir has been formed blocking the Durance river)

I wanted to reach Gap and climb the Col de Manse (the road the Tour peloton will climb in July) and the downhill is where Armstrong cut through the field a few years back.
I got the worst headwind i ever experienced to reach Chorges and la Batie Neuve, on the N94 along the lake.
But the wind was too strong, so I decided to leave the N94 from La Batie Neuve and climb to La Rochette from another side.
The road climbed with the mountain on my right side. At every right corner the wind blew on my face. A shorts but nasty climb and a few hard flat kms before it.
Just before La Rochette i reached the carrefour and went down to Pont Sarrazin.
The road surface is smooth if you touch it (there are some smooth tar parts, that melt in the summer for the heat) but it is not flat-steamrolled. it is a continuous little bump, and it is not easy to brake well. at the Giro d'Italia, this road would be resurfaced.
After the turn were Beloki fell, I reached the N94 again to go back. The wind was at the back, so i enjoyed the trip back to the car, even with sore legs.

next trip maybe the Col d'Agnel, Italian side, nearer to home and without expensive autoroute

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StuTheWeak
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by StuTheWeak

French Alps is for pussies. Try the Ozark Mountains...you have to peddle faster than the rednecks can shoot...else be sodomized.

Squeal piggy, squeal!
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stella-azzurra
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by stella-azzurra

Riiiiiiiight :roll:
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