My old friend Emmanuel is vacationing in Annecy with his family. I hadn’t seen him in 2 years, and he knows the Cols of the region very well. My challenge was to find a climb from Annecy that he hadn’t cycled that would make him go “wow!” Success.
The challenge for Emmanuel was much tougher: Cycle up the steep Arpettaz and listen to me speak French for several hours —– yikes.
This is a great loop, with much of the riding on the Annecy Bike Path. It’s a perfect place to ride side-by-side and chat without worrying about cars.
Approaching Ugine, there are several turns off the bike path to join the “route des montagnes” up to Col de l’Arpettaz. I love this climb – look at the map above – hairpins galore on a quiet road that is partly pasture land and partly light forest.
For a truly superb mountain bike adventure, there is a gravel road that links Col de l’Arpettaz with Col des Aravis. Details here.
Nearing the Col the tree line disappears – great views of the Aravis Alps:
Plenty of cows watching Manu suffer:
There is a nice little restaurant at the Col and we stopped to rehydrate. The route we descended is fabulous. First beautiful views of Mont Blanc for several kilometres:
Then some unbelievable stretches of hairpins:
Finally just a fast, quiet descent on beautiful roads back to Ugine where we rejoined the Annecy bike path to head home. Even the tunnels are fun (car-free) here:
Merci mille fois to the family of Manu for entertaining and feeding me afterwards — and for the great swim. Wonderful day.