Four years of mountain gazing finally pays off with some of the best descending in all of Europe!
The drive between Chamonix and Geneva can get very boring even though there are many different mountains and valley's to look at. Le Mole above the town of Bonneville has been on my ski touring list for a long time but some how things came together this past week and me and Tom got up there on our mountain bikes.
Mid week in April, during a long spell of calm, sunny weather brought more than just two British mountain bikers out to the Chablais. Probably 200 walkers up and down the mountain.
We set off very slowly from lac du Mole knowing we had 1400 metres to climb. We started on quiet village roads chatting about nothing in particular as we slowly gained height. We arrived at the beginning of the off-road just as sweat began to gather on our foreheads. All the walkers were starting from here, but we still managed to overtake many as we winched our way up. There were many sections of gravel fireroad that were not quiet steep enough to be pushed up. This proved a real challenge in front of all the onlooking walkers. When you overtake a nice blonde hiker you can't get off and push can you? We broke out of the forests a with a view of the last 300 metres up.
|Tom checking out the main face|
|Snaking road up with Saleve, Petit Saleve and Geneva town|
|Climbing up what we will later descend. Sweet!|
The last section was actually pretty easy, a lot could be ridden and we were excited to get to the top to eat and check out the views. Yes they were epic in every direction! Mont Blanc and the whole Massif, Chaine des Aravis, the Chablais (including last weeks ridge line), the Saleve, Geneva City, lac Leman and the Jura Mountain Range.
As for the descending up in the high alpine I'll let the pictures hopefully show how amazing it was:
|Bonus traverse to avoid extra climbing|
After the superb smooth fast open section on the main face we did a sneaky traverse to avoid too much extra climbing. We descended through alpine meadows, double checked the map and headed to the final section of singletrack. When I say final, I mean 700 metre vert of descending back to the car. It started on a muddy farm track to a barn, rounded a corner, and then like many good descents slowly turned into singletrack and ducked into the tree's. Steep to begin, with some tight switchbacks to remind you of being in the French Alps. However lower down it became gentle, as the trail traversed the hillside on smooth singletrack. It reminded me of the Black Forest, fast, pump bump, blind swooping corner, fast, faster, and then a major feature just to make sure you are paying full attention. Super fun, super flow, super grins at the end!
|blury, but swoopy|
|Nessie of the Haute Savoie|
Now to just link it up with the Dirt Ridgeline on the other side of the valley and you have one truly "epic" "enduro" mountain bike day out.
3 hours up
1400 metre vertical height difference
5 hours total ride time
and of course 2 McFlurries consumed on the way home
Side note- if you go, think about hikers, it get's very busy up at the top in the summer holidays so try and plan accordingly
After this I spent the following two days on ski's reaching this at 4061 metre's in Italy (Gran Paradiso):
|Rob happy to reach the Madonna|
|Jo kissing, me looking moody|