Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Tour du Mont Blanc" -- Review

A review together with finally the edited video of the descent from the Col du Petite-Saint-Bernard into Bourg Saint Maurice at the end of the first day.

Here is a overview of the full loop:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taninges to Martigny -- Stage 3 of "Tour du Mont Blanc"

100 km and little under 2000 m elevation to close the loop we had to go -- but first a good French breakfast with a really good fresh Croissant! From the heavy rain and thunder of the last night it still was all wet in the morning but no rain at the time we started out. Just around the block of the hotel climbing up again (Col des Gets) to Les Gets (1.5) followed by an intermediate pretty strait and fast down hill into Montriond.


After a short flat ride we started climbing Col du Corbier (2).


A pretty nice and twisty downhill on wet roads, taking it with extra care... into Bonnevaux. Then following the road towards Morgins -- taking a 2nd breakfast and coffee little before Chatel in La Chapelle. A few drops of rain and dark clouds were moving into the valley, looking scary. Py put on his arm warmers, just right! Then finishing with one more good climb up and back to the Swiss border on top of Pass de Morgins (4). Just reaching the top rain started getting heavy. Putting on the GAB jacket -- the pack gaining some room! A about 30km long and soaking wet downhill all the way down from 1369 to little less than 400m into Monthey down in the valley. Good it was just getting warmer with less altitude. Still mostly going fast than cars... splashing water all over. One drowned Garmin 800. Then a flat 25km ride to the finish in Martigny.


** corrected elevation profile -- water blocking the pressure sensor until I blew it out (Edge 705, no issues beyond this. The 800 of my friend got more seriously wet and the USB interface denied working... IPX7 rated ???may be prolonged water spay at high speeds no good???) **

Save and wet return to Martigny, no real mechanical issues over the last 400km, just a great ride!

Great loop, Ben!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bourg Saint Maurice to Taninges -- Stage 2 of "Tour du Mont Blanc"

Next day, the sun is going up and it looks like one more perfect day to ride! Even with the elevation of about 800m the temperature was just fine at 8am. We started climbing out of the box.... to Cormet de Roselend (2). A very pictures valley and beautiful small road winding up it's way. Only a little touristic traffic occasional disturbing the silence and eventual tweets of birds. Definitively the most scenic ascent of the three days! Plus having Mont Blanc in sight again a few times :-)


Getting to the top of climb No. 1 for day 2. Eating one of two bananas he took all the way, checking out some food -- but mostly only very tempting looking sausages... not now.


A great and also scenic downhill passing along Lac Roseland and all the way down into Beaufort. From there a short "flat" road took us to the next climb No. 2 to Col Saisies (3-5). One more pretty good climb! Time for lunch.


And down hill fun again into Flumet (6).


Notice the over sized bike here (Flumet) -- we went under this overpass and started climbing right away again Col de Aravis (7) -- you can hardly miss the bike enthusiasm of this region! Every one was very nice and signs even say to give full 1.5m (5ft!!) room to cyclists -- how is that?


Descending into La Clusaz. And heading up again on a kind of hidden back road to Col de la Colombriere (8). One more coffee and snack before descending again.


From here down into Le Reposoir and up on a minor hidden totally traffic free road D119 (Romme) to find an exiting and twisty, steep and incredible long and fast descent into Cluses.
That was fun! Great finding, Beni!

We had initial intention to stay here over night, but were undecided about where to go in this small busy town and as we have been good in time decided to finish up the day with one more little pass over to the next town Taniges. Finishing again with over 4000m elevation gain and 6 climbs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Martigny to Bourg Saint Maurice -- Stage 1 of "Tour du Mont Blanc"

Now the fairly long in advance set tight time frame of exactly three days available for this tour has come and after a long time Py meet once in a while his old friend Ben back in Bern to go out and ride "big". He came shortly up with this 2 1/2 day ride plan joining a few great passes he knew already and putting in a few new good looking climbs and descents. We did not had any constrains, just started out in the morning with an approximate destination/distance to go in mind to find a good looking hotel on the spot. Taking the absolute minimum of gear to change for dinner plus the essentials if weather turns bad. Py ended up with a total pay load of 3.5kg at max -- just varying with the amount of snacks stuffed in. Thursday morning driving to the start in Martigny.

Thursday, 9:40, Martigny -- rolling out of the parking lot up the road to the Gran San Bernardo pass. A gentle to moderate incline of 2..4% right away as warmup for about 20 minutes before the grade went up and never below 6% averaging around 7..8%, big road, decent but narrow shoulder some heavy truck traffic on this major North-South connection. But not to bad at all. Few tunnels and galleries, nice scenery and picture perfect weather, ideal temperature. Just climbing away the 1st section up to about 1800 meters until we finally left the main road and traffic cutting of the mountain top via a tunnel and we kept climbing and now much more enjoying a virtually traffic free final ascent to the top of the Gran San Bernard.


Little snack just after entering the top part of the pass. From here a few more switchbacks to the top (2), the road is steepening up a little to 10..12% for the last 500 meters of climbing.
Glad this first long 2000m elevation gain climb went all fine and felt good having it out of the way! Py's new record for the longest road bike climb.


On top we were passing the Kloster famous for the Bernadiner dog and had a great view.


From here a initially nice and long downhill finishing up on bigger roads into Aosta (3), Italy. Brief stop for some bike re-adjustments as the saddle came a bit loose, little snack and a coffee.


Topping off water and heading on to the next climb up to Colle San Carlo (4). This was going to be a tough one -- 1500m climbing, but on a pretty decent grade of 10..14% and at a few times steepening up to 20% -- not to mention that we just climbed 2000m up to Grand San Bernardo... -- this made the "Devils Kitchen" in the Cats looking and feeling like a joke -- at least all over and with the current gearing o-] (sorry to say that) But after some good time of cranking it up, standing quite a bit the top came in to sight. One more down.


Nice short descent into La Thuile (5), lunch.


Then the last climb of the day up to Col du Petite-Saint-Bernard (6) a little more moderate and very welcome climb at the end of the day.


... and a great descent into Bourg Saint Maurice.
**(video to be edited)**


Counting in 4'180 m elevation gain on 165 km in only 3 climbs.
Moving into out first night stay hotel, little shopping, dinner and good night.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Solo Late Bird Start -- Py, his Power Meter and the Wind -- then fun ride with Cadre

Late start. Solo into the wind heading East towards -- planned going to Cutchogue or even further and looking for a fast return with the wind. Little lonely moving towards the Tanks -- as a group of riders came up opposite direction... Py was not as far out as he planned for, but figured it will be more fun to join them as they planned to cut over more south to 51/111... Ended up in a fun group ride and stop for a Cappuccino at the Manorville Starbucks before returning on his "RP2IPBP" route -- this part is missing in belows plot, no clue why as the bike computer correctly shows it all -- 105km total :-)


Monday, September 05, 2011

Kev's HHH ride -- big GAB showing

Py was a little concerned about riding today, little tiered feel from yesterday's decent work hauling this big heavy duty humvie amphib full suspension old and little worn out..... bike around the RP trail two times.

But he could not skip this ride starting virtually in front of his house plus a big appearance of GABs was expected as well. So he went out suffering a bit up this steep road up over the lil hill out of his house meeting a well sized group at Tildas. Plan was to sit in nicely.... Easy going, good. After a few first climbs he some what felt better -- seams the last day's damage was flushed out ;-) and he got a little away moving on. Craig out new "cycling dad" showed up, good to see!


Then hitting some of Py's favorite roads he is visiting far too less... he pulled off a few long all the way pulls and finally approaching home he really got awake and just kept moving on.
Good ride, glad the weather is (still) holding off the rain to come. Humid but that's OK moving fast. Only GAB missing today: Gorge -- working hard organizing the fix of the remaining broken power lines on LI he assumes. They saw a couple of these LIPA power repair trucks out there today!