A fairly ambitious route primarily on deserted forestry roads near Lake Annecy.
Starting in Annecy, the route starts along the Annecy bike path passing the entire west side of the lake. At Doussard, I left the cycling path in search of a little forestry road.
The forestry road climbs up the beautiful Combe d’Ire valley, accompanied by the noisy but scenic little Ire river. After just three kilometres the road is closed to cars – sweet. At times, this can be very steep with one full km at 12%, and with 5 kms to go the road becomes gravel and bumpy – hard work. But fun in this deserted mountain valley.
There are very occasional views of Lake Annecy in the distance, and the impressive cliffs of Mont Trelod above the Col.
The descent is VERY steep and bumpy for a few kms, and then becomes paved again.
Approaching Le Chatelard, I had to pay attention to find the little turn-off up towards Col du Plane. Another superb deserted road – at times very steep. Just like Co de Chérel, the last few kms on either side of the Col are NOT paved – this is not a route for a road bike.
The Col du Plane sign is still missing, but I was glad to be there as I was tired, hungry and thirsty – and the hardest part was over.
After descending the other side of Col du Plane, there are 8 or so flattish kms through a beautiful valley and then the route passes Col de Leschaux and a fast descent back to Annecy.