Col du Grand Cucheron is at the entrance to the Maurienne Valley. This sparsely populated valley extends for perhaps 40 or 50 miles, with huge mountain ranges on either side. thus there are very few ways out of the valley, and it is the beginning of several of the greatest climbs in France.
Just before my exit, there was a road sign detailing the status of 7 Cols. Cucheron was open. Col du Galibier, Col du Glandon, Col de la Madeleine, Col de l’Iseran, Col de la Croix de Fer, Mont Cenise, ALL CLOSED – still plenty of snow around _ and how is that for a list of climbs!
Cucheron is just under 1,000 metres in climb. First time and not my favorite ride. About half way up, I ran into patches of fine gravel – this continued to the top – even a couple of signs warning cyclists to descend carefully. If I wasn’t half done, i would have turned back.
And yes, on the descent a flat tire. Until this road gets refinished, it is not for road bikes.