Lake Annecy Loop via 3 Great Climbs

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Bike route 133666 – powered by Bikemap 

Map first today as I thought the elevation profile was pretty cool.

The biggest ride of the year so far. A loop around Lake Annecy, +100 kms, over three beautiful climbs. The big Cols are still three months from opening, but March and April can be the best time to do small and medium climbs in the Alps as the weather can be warm, the roads fine, and the surrounding mountains stunningly snow covered.

Nice views!

Col de Tamié Col de l'Epine Col de la Forclaz

We started along the Lake Annecy bike path (map at bottom) and at Faverges turned right to climb Col de Tamié (my first time). Maybe 9 kms and not difficult, but a very pleasant road. Well worth the detour.

Near the top is the beautiful Abbaye de Tamié, famous for it’s cheese. This Cistercian Abbey (photo below) was founded in 1132! Wow.

l'Abbaye de Tamié

We descended down Tamié and then headed for Marlens to climb Col de l’Epine (not to be confused with the like-named Col near Chambéry).

I really like this climb. It’s only about 7kms averaging 7% but this quiet route climbs up the side of the mountain with incredible views below and in the distance. And over the top leads to a seemingly secret little paradise valley. Sorry, no photos as I was trying not to lose eric by too much – he flew up here.

I realized at this point that I needed to eat and drink more as we had now been riding for over 3 hours and were approaching the brutally steep Col de la Forclaz de Montmin.

Forclaz

I love the south side of this climb. It’s not too long, but incredibly steep and truly beautiful. My measured pace in the earlier climbs paid dividends and I was pretty pleased with how I felt.

Forclaz means “narrow gap” and there are several Col de la Forclaz in Haute Savoie. Today’s climb is perhaps the best of the bunch (the Swiss may disagree) and was in the 2007 Dauphiné Libéré and 2004 Tour de France (the 1st mountain stage I ever watched live).

I asked my domestique Eric, to double back after finishing the climb (well before me) to snap a couple of photos. His photography skills continue to improve!

Col de la Forclaz de Montmin

The treat at the end of this climb is the magnificent views of Lake Annecy below. There is a take off point for hang-gliding and parapenting …. and as we arrived, off he jumped.

Top of Col de la Forclaz

It’s a fast, fun descent back towards Annecy …. to finish my first metric century of the year. A dream circuit.

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Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.

7 Comments

  1. ha Philippe

    ca fait deux fois,

    c’est mon sang gallois ?

    groover: yes, great company. I hope it’s clear when I call Eric my domestique …. it’s tongue in cheek as he’s 2x as strong as me.

  2. Great ride Will… congrats on the first metric of the season!
    I so want to be on those roads! These are beautiful climbs… and the route looks so good you proabbly never really suffered right? You have too much great stuff to look at. I also want to know when you are going to try the hang-gliding?

  3. Will, I’m very happy to be your domestique on any of those great rides you plan…and even more if you continue to spoil me with your yummi spagetti pie after the ride. Twice as strong as you? Thanks for not making fun of me being soft today as I happily drove back home with you…in the car ;-D

  4. Will -
    You have no idea how happy I am to have found your Cycling Challenge this morning on my computer!
    I’m a long time cyclist living in Napa Valley, CA, but my truly cherished memories of Lake Annecy and surroundings are bought back to life by your photos and descriptions of that area. I first rode there in 1986 with a group of Dutch guys – what a fantastic time we had – climbed everything in the area, and then rode to Nice and back over the next 2 weeks.
    I was married in 1990 and took my new wife to Annecy. We stayed at a charming old hotel right near the top of the Col de la Croix Fry – don’t remember the name of it – and my wife cried when she saw the view from our cabin. Just heaven.
    All these years later, I’m still in an enthusiastic rider, and your website brings back such wonderful memories. You couldn’t have a more appreciative audience.
    Merci,
    Curt

  5. Pingback: Col du Vorger, Col de Tamié, and the Annecy Bike Path : Cycling Challenge

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