I checked the webcam for Manigod ski station and the roads looked clear enough. So I drove to Thones and climbed the Col de la Croix Fry. This was the last climb in stage 17 of the 2004 Tour de France when Armstrong beat Kloden by about an inch. The stats don’t look too hard on this Col (850 metres over 12.8 kms) but its irregular grade makes it hard to get a good rhythm. And there are some short steep stretches especially after the flat middle near Manigod with 2 kms averaging 10%.
It’s a beautiful ride and is completely surrounded by mountains. At the top it was busy with skiers. A quick photo then a short detour to the even smaller ski station at Col de Merdassier, then a quick descent towards La Clusaz to join the road up to the Col des Aravis.
Aravis is impressive and passes between two huge mountains and has nice long hairpins. It features regularly in the Tour including in 2006.
After saying a prayer to Saint Anne – The Protector of Travelers (see photo) – I descended then climbed back up Croix Fry then back to Thones.
A pretty big ride made much easier by the sun (and no wind).
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