Friday, July 8, 2005

Alps Trip Day 2 - Annecy to Col du Cucheron

The morning started well with a nice breakfast, though I didn't take full advantage as I wanted to get going and make up for the slightly shortened day yesterday. I had a nice chat with a Canadian woman who had lived in NZ for 10 years.

I had thought about going over high road past le Semnoz, which started by the Youth Hostel but I decided that I avoid having to hard a start and the road to le Semnoz topped out at 1700m. In addition I was concerned about getting cold; my 'system' hadn't taken into account the rather bad weather of yesterday and today.

I followed the road along the West side of the lake from Annecy. It was quite a busy road but I wasn't on it for long. My chosen path took me up into the Massif de Bauges and the Col de Leschaux (897m). Soon the road started to mount but never became difficult; the weather even looked as if it was going to clear up, though that wasn't in my fate for today, for today at least. On the way up I caught clues of the magnificent mountains that surrounded me. I hope that I get to see them properly on the trip.

The South of the Massif was Chambéry, the capital of the Savoie before it was annexed to France in 1860 or so. Later on during the trip I saw political posters and graffiti demanding independence for Savoie. I only stopped for lunch, though I imagine it would be pleasant to wander around.

From there I 'attacked' the Chartreuse range. This was more challenging. The first col, du Granier, was an 800m climb. The weather returned to form as I went up it, though a few times the Sun came out to tease me. Along the way there were some nice views of Mont Granier looming 800m above. The way down was cold. I regretted not bringing my waterproof pants.

At the bottom I thought of bailing and finding a hotel, but I knew that I wouldn't be happy until I had some kms in the 'bank', meaning cycling more than 100km. I had a long day ahead if I wanted to catch 2 stages of the Tour de France, at Courchevel and the Col de Galibier, as planned. I needed to get used to distance. So I soldiered on. At the top of the next col, right beside it, was a cute hotel. It seemed to good to be true, I stopped. 15 minutes later I was soaking blissfully in a bath. Unfortunately I suspect that there were bedbugs, as I found what look like bites around my shoulders.

Distance - 105km
Time - 7:10
Max Altitude – 1147m
Tot. Ascent – 2624m

Col de Leschaux - 897m
Col du Granier – 1134m
Col du Cucheron – 1139m

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