Mont du Chat is a truly epic climb overlooking Lac du Bourget (the biggest lake in France).
Last year Le Cycle magazine called it possibly the toughest climb in France …. for me it’s far too short for that honour, but it’s hard work.
It’s a beautiful deserted route that starts beside Lac du Bourget and just keeps climbing … with ever improving views of the lake and snow covered Alps – Mont Blanc appears with about 3 kms to go.
The plan was to descend the other side and return via the scenic Col du Chat. See here for details on this loop in the other direction including climb details of the also very interesting west side of Mont du Chat – the last two kms on that side average 12%!
After photos at the summit – (Alps everywhere!), about 6 kms down the other (west) side my tire blew, I skidded but luckily didn’t fall – slow descending has its benefits. The tire was destroyed and my spare inner-tube was thus useless. I was pretty clueless what to do as I was on the wrong side of a huge mountain, wearing road-bike cleats on the most deserted road.
I hiked up the hill for a while and calculated that I would be at the car an hour after dark.
I called Barry to whine with hopes that he would rescue me. He kindly offered to bring a new tire by motor bike – and we both laughed at me.
Finally a car passed – for the 1st time in my life I hitch-hiked. A very nice old couple offered to rescue me. We chatted away – as I got increasingly car sick as the old guy negotiated the difficult narrow mountain road – but was I ever grateful.
Such nice people – they even thanked me for the scenic tour of the village down below as I got them quite lost on narrow, tiny streets having forgotten where the car was parked. Merci mille fois!