Sunday, 22 September 2013

September ....Skipton v France

September 11 for about 3 weeks

After putting up two lots of Australian rellies and going down to London to Laura and Emma's wedding, we were off again.  Although very short notice compared to most weddings, where the preparations drag on interminably, with only two months to organise, it was the best wedding ever.  Just close family, with night do for friends, everything went off perfectly, and Laura looked more beautiful than we've ever seen.  Didn't know she had it in her!  They looked so happy together, and grandma had a lovely time, spoilt rotten, with lots of champagne!
Now off to North Yorkshire area, or Cornwall, in theory.  But the weather turned autumnal in a weekend, so off to Provence!  Overnighted in Guignicourt, just north of Reims. Expensive campsite but good, with little choice in area.  With a couple of decent days forecast north of Provence, we opted for Culoz, just south of Annecy and lake Geneva and stayed on a municipal site for two nights.  The site is at the foot of the Grand Colombier climb, made famous by the 2012 Tour de France, where Tommy Voekler won the stage.  As the helicopter filmed from overhead, you got the most amazing shots of Wiggins and Froome zigzagging their way on the crest of the hill, looking down over Lake Bourget.
We climbed the first day and found it a lot like the Alpe d'Huez climb but further.  Quite tough, but the views were stunning.  Through the trees on the ascent, you caught glimpses of Mont Blanc, rising above the clouds. We then continued onto the Col de Richemond in the footsteps of letour.
The second Saturday in the month between June and September, the local tourist board and the Confrerie des Cyclistes de Grand Colombier host a closed road event with refreshments at the summit, so we decided to tag along for a second ascent.  About 10 miles and 4000 feet of climbing, with 3kms where the gradient is over 10%.  Event started at 7am, and we were cycling by 8.30.  Very little traffic on the road anyway, but none that day.  Great welcome at the summit and spectacular mountain views.  Our hosts even opened a box of red wine, and it was still only 10.30 am!
Really enjoyable day, but not much to see in Culoz.  One bar but that's about it.  Great campsite and very reasonable.  Glad we decided to call in for a couple of nights, rather than legging it down to Provence.  Finished cycling by 12 noon and set straight off for Bedoin, Provence.

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