I have split this ride into two blog posts as it features two very different climbs (and I took a lot of photos). This is the second part of the ride in the map below (upper left).
After a beer celebrating a fun ride on high, unpaved roads above Col du Petit St. Bernard (details here), I decided to have a look at a great looking road, heading up into a side mountain valley. It starts as a right turn off the main road roughly two kms above La Thuile.
I was tired and short on water, but couldn’t resist taking a peek. And the higher I got the more impossible it became to not continue. The first few kilometres are steep and paved, passing a farm or two and several abandoned buildings. At roughly 1900 metres the paved road ends and a gravel road turn into a stunning narrow valley.I could see a trail or road continuing far into the distance. Never too steep, I slowly crawled higher. Looking back down after a several kms:
I wasn’t certain how far the road went, but after a few kilometres I was already well above 2000 metres and could see a Col far in the distance. I never expected the road actually went there or that I’d have the legs to reach it.
I just kept plodding along. Thirsty, slow, but having a great time. And the road just kept getting better.
The IGN map had the “road” ending at a farm house at 2420 metres. But a sort-of-road continued directly towards the Col.
I could see old military fortifications cut into the mountain just below the Col. Geographically, I wasn’t exactly certain where I was (but soon discovered I was still short of the French border). I had no idea what to expect as I entered the Col, and then the most glorious view appeared on my right:
I was facing the Mont Blanc massif. To my left was Col de la Seigne (French border) that I had cycled last year from Courmayeur through the valley far below me – details here.
What an amazing place:
One can hike down the other side, but anyone with a bike will be hoisting it on their shoulders for a tricky walk.
Me? I was exhausted, but content. And happily glided back down to La Thuile. My “tweet” sums up how I felt after a long, perfect day on the bike:
I like road biking in Alps, but Mtbing on the endless super-high unpaved car-free Alps "roads" is highly under rated pic.twitter.com/Q8YKtnke25
— cyclingchallenge (@cyclingalps) July 1, 2015