I am still here! I have been mainly riding locally or visiting nearby bigger climbs that I have written about endlessly (Joux Plane, Croix Fry, Colombière, etc). But thank-you for all the kind emails worrying about me! 🙂
Here is a new fun adventure. An unpaved ride up to Col du Mont Cenis and its lake then up higher to the Ancien Fort de Pattacreuse (2385m). I started in Lanslebourg exactly at the start of the 10 km paved climb to Mont Cenis, but immediately jumped onto a good quality unpaved road. It’s at times quite steep, but very peaceful and good cycling. It is the same route that could lead to Pas de Beccia (2717 metres) via Fort de la Turra
But at roughly 2100 metres I would turn left and briefly join the paved road just below Col du Mont Cenis (2085 metres).
Just after the col, I would get off the main road and head towards Col du Petit Mont Cenis,but quickly get onto the gravel road that runs along the west side of Lac du Mont Cenis.
I have done several huge rides to and high above Lac du Mont Cenis. Please see the bottom of this post for a map and link to the three paved routes and a bunch of truly superb high unpaved stuff.
Up until this point it had been a pretty big ride, but the real fun was about to begin. Approaching the far end of the lake I turned up onto on old military road in OK condition. Hairpins everywhere. Here let me admit that I had made a mistake. The plan had been to ride to Fort Malamot, another old fort but perched at over 2900 metres. I had made a wrong turn but once I realised the error I was too thrilled with the views to turn around!
The old fort was built in the late 1800’s. It’s perched at 2385 metres and mainly ruins. I looked around at a hiking trail beyond but didn’t see a reasonable alternate route to go higher or descend so I doubled back down the way I had climbed.
I explored further south along the lake and found the route to Fort Malamot but frankly I was tired and decided it was an adventure for another day. 🙁
There was no cell phone service but I knew my wife had parked near the dam and had gone hiking so I rode onto the dam and bumped into her. So the route on the map just has me ending here. If you needed to descend, I would suggest avoiding the busy paved east side of the lake if it’s summer. My plan if I couldn’t find my wife was to basically double back all the way to the beginning.
More Mont Cenis Rides
Please visit the article Lac du Mont Cenis: A Detailed Look for a touch of history and details of the 3 paved routes (including a lesser known super fun 2nd way up from Italian side). Also several of my absolutely favourite super-high unpaved rides. The photos below are me trying to convince you to click the link. 🙂
Fantastic summary and those pix are breathtaking! Nice to hear about your adventures as always and virtually exploring the climbs.
I have a trip coming up with the biggies cols around Galibier, alpe dhuez, etc in several weeks and hope to join the cingles du mont ventoux club. And enjoy the fresh pain au chocolate of course.