Friday, 11 October 2013

Gotta find somewhere else to stay!

Col de la Croix de Fer
All roads lead ultimately to Bourg.  Real bonus because we didn't expect the weather to be this good in September.  Also good throughout France and back at home, but a bit cooler.  Forecast to be mid 20s during the day and down to 7deg at night, that being the biggest difference between here and Provence.  The road over took us in via Valbonnais and over the Col d'Ornon, recently resurfaced and covered in a thick layer of loose gravel, treacherous for cyclists.  At home a week or so later, they sweep the road surface for loose gravel, whereas here, they seemingly wait for the weather to do it for them, eventually!
With great weather forecast for at least the next four days, we planned a couple of favourite routes here and then on to Beaufort to revisit a couple of old favourites there.  Never expected to be able to do this, so it feels like a real bonus!
Auris route alongside valley
Camped at a very quiet Rencontre de Soleil site, with only a handful of others.  Good site, typically expensive for here, 28euros, but Mr and Mrs do like to keep on top of the landscape, mowing and strumming everything to within an inch of its life, usually at between 11am and 6pm, with a short break for lunch!  Not exactly "calme et paisible"!  Got to try somewhere different next time, nearer Allemont, where there is a municipal site, Le Plan.  Planning on entering the Vaujany cycle event next June, which Ian has done before.

Villard Reculas overlooking Romanche Valley
Very cool start, with Moreno layer under cycle vest, cagoule in back pocket, phone and money for a coke, sardine sandwich, banana and snickers bar packed for lunch.  The usual stuff.  Off for a final visit of Croix de Fer, savouring every moment, even the stinky climb up to and out of Le Rivière.  Glorious, so didn't care how long I was likely to be out!  Sat at the top for sandwich and coke, little cafe being surprisingly open, but then it was a lovely weekend. Great views of the peaks from the top and warmer than in June.  52 miles in an average of 11mph.  Saw Ian briefly in passing near the col, as he added another climb up to Vaujany on the return.
The following day we both ascended to Villard Reculas, setting off half an hour apart.  A tough climb up to a balcony route we've done from the other direction.  Then the last six hairpins of the Alpe d'Huez and a coke at the top.  Ian continued on to the top of Col de Sarenne but I'd had enough and descended back to the campsite.  Sarenne could wait until tomorrow.  Take the van to a car park tomorrow am, and then take my time up the Alpe and Sarenne tomorrow, before we leave for Beaufort and hopefully a quieter site!

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