Sunday, July 17, 2005

Alps Trip Day 11 - Seez to St Gervais

The Cormet de Roselend was a nice climb. On the way up I spotted many nice wild camping spots. After a while the scenery became more oxen and alpine. The first glimpse of the Mont Blanc Massif was to be seen just below the summit. I'm not sure if I would rate it as highly as I've seen it so. This reminds me that I should review 'my' cols, I don't need to wait until I'm old and grey to do that, though it could be said that I am already in that state.

The weather in the morning was pretty nice, not too hot. My regret was having to wear socks in my sandals because my feet were still sun burnt.

On the way up I met Bernard, a Québécois cycle tourist. I stopped and chatted a little, it surprised me how little I felt like talking in the morning, I guess I just wanted to cycle. We met again at the bottom, and discovered that we were aiming for similar endpoints, more or less St Gervais, but via different paths. I was going to try the Col de Joly, him the Col de Saisie. We ended out at the same campsite at St Gervais that evening.

The second climb of the day was the Col de Joly. The base of the climb was from the end of a tight valley with the base of a small ski station. There was no-one about. This was probably because it was sweltering hot at point, being around 2pm. From there to the top was pure torture. I wasn't prepared for how tough the Sun can be. I should have brought more water and not had to have rationed it so much. The views from the top were superb. I was so keen to get to news of the Tour de France that I rushed down a very difficult decent on a rough road, with a load it was a real challenge. I found a bar with a TV as the stragglers came in, though I did learn that George Hincapie won the stage. Apparently he was criticised for not working hard enough in the break, whatever he deserved a win in the Tour de France for all that he has helped Armstrong achieve.

In St Gervais, as I said earlier, I met up with Bernard again. We both stayed at the (relatively) classy and pricey campsite. When I said that I needed a pair of trees for my hammock I was given a tour of the place in an electric buggy. After settling in I cooked up a huge meal which took a while to get down.

My neighbours at the campsite were a very nice couple plus a friend from Rodez, near the Pyrenees. They moved their things around to accommodate my hammock, provided me with an aperitif before dinner and some nice friendly conversation.

Distance - 92km
Time - 7:30
Max Altitude - 1989m
Tot. Ascent - 2684m

Cormet de Roselend – 1968m
Col de Joly – 1989m

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