Friday, 28 June 2013
St Jean de Maurienne
St Jean de Maurienne
Revisited the Camping des Grands Cols near the centre of town in the Maurienne Valley. Loads to do from here, Col de Madeleine, Col du Mollard, Col du Glandon, Col de Croix Fer, Col de Telegraphe and the daddy of them all, Col de Galibier, if it's open!
Where to start! Hopefully the weather will improve, as our journey up here had been extremely windy, showery and cold enough to have us eating inside for the first time since we landed!
Opted for the "slightly easier" circuit of Col du Mollard-Col de la Croix de Fer-Col du Glandon and return to St J de M. A great circuit and I found it much easier than the other way around, which we did last year. The climb up through the little villages of the Massif D'Arvan, with cows and chickens grazing right up to the roadside, was a delight. The ascent to Mollard not too bad. Tough climb up through St Sorlin ski village and final steady climb up to the Croix de Fer. Overall time at this point 3hr 37 mins, Ian doing it about half an hour faster than me. I fell off from an almost standing still position, just after St Sorlin, which I think took more out of me than I'd realised. Just cuts and grazes this time but my saddle had got twisted round slightly, so had to do the final 5km with it digging into me, or trying to stay off the saddle for short bursts! Fortunately a kind guy at the top straightened it for me. Must make sure I take an Allen key with me next time!
A very steep descent off Glandon, into a bitter cold wind. Fortunately brought extra clothing in a rucksack this time, because of the forecast. Can't believe I managed to get up here last year! So steep 11/12% in places! Long descent through the alpine pastures, hamlets and woods into Etiennes de Cuines and then long stretch back along the main road, with a helping, strong wind all the way to the campsite. Five hours out and 6800 feet of climbing. Another good day out, with Galibier tomorrow. All being well we'll get to the summit, but it snowed up there yesterday and a cyclist told be that they'd closed it again this morning because of an avalanche. Probably only closed near the top, so we'll just have to go and see!