Wooohooo! The bigger Alps climbs are starting to open.
A pretty big day. But fun.
The route: Both sides of Cormet de Roselend. Just over 80 kms and two huge but beautiful climbs.
West Side: The climb: 20.5 kms (12.7 miles) The Ascent: 1,240 metres (4,070 feet)
Eric mentioned yesterday that Cormet de Roselend was open (a surprise), and the perfect weather left us with no choice but to cycle it (map at bottom).
He lobbied hard for doing BOTH sides – yikes. So we made a deal. If he did extra photo duties, I would so my best to survive.
East Side: The climb: 20.3 kms (12.6 miles) The Ascent: 1,160 metres (3,800 feet)
We started in beautiful Beaufort – famous for it’s cheese.
It’s a wooded, green scenic ride up to Col du Meraillet – 1605 metres at the Barrage de Roselend. The Col sign is still missing (I do have a photo from 2005).
Eric kept telling me how strong I looked – in a clever ploy to make me cycle both sides. But at least he also kept snapping photos. 😉
Me? I like to dress to match the road:
When Alpine roads are open to cars, it means they have been cleared and inspected for safety. Although there is still some snow around …. and Eric dutifully cleared a few large rocks of the route.
I rode at a measured pace but felt fairly good, so at the top I agreed to descend to Bourg St Maurice in order to climb the other side (which will be in the 2009 TdF).
Here, I cleverly make Eric look shorter than me:
The descent down the East side is fast. With a fantastic section of consecutive hairpins. Here, Eric noticed a marking indicating where Johan Bruyneel crashed in the 1996 TdF:
The actual race footage of the crash is below. Yikes!
Eric descending East side:
Me approaching Summit from East – Col sign at right:
A fantastic day on a stunning deserted route. Nice.
Hey Will, Roselend is indeed a beautiful climb. Did it two years ago starting in Beaufort and descending direction Bourg St Maurice. I found it a very hard climb, but the fact that I did it with luggage may have something to do with it.
What do you think is the side to climb it?
I think both sides are very interesting and similar difficulty. The north side has the beautiful Lake and dam, and the south side is filled with crazy hairpins and great views.
First time we reach Roselend together, first time for both of us to ride up the south side and highest col for your 2009 challenge so far (but not for long). And you are going strong…I am comparing speed yesterday as we were getting up Roselend from the south side with speed up Colombière on stage 1 of Tour d’Enfer (the cold and hail would only have made us go faster to stay warm). You are way stronger this year.
Enjoy the Vercors (Goulets!)
Excellent blog and very jealous of your trip, happy riding.
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