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Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Leaving Chamonix

03:30- Chamonix Church, Haute Savoie, France

The overnight storm had quickly past and we set off fresh legged with smiling faces towards Switzerland. 
Cham Church 03:30
Jo wasn't on his "ultimate touring setup" but his old touring machine, a Specialzed Hardrock 26 inch wheeled mountain bike with old slick tyres, V-brakes and rigid forks...
Chatelard Boarder 04:35
At 04:35 we crossed into Switzerland, past the busy Emosson dam electricity plant and pedalled on up to the Col de la Forclaz.  By 05:40 we were in Martigny Switzerland.  My 29ner zoomed down the descents with high pressured tyres and Jo's LED headlight lighting up the road alot better than mine.
Col de la Forclaz 05:20
Martigny looking towards Sion
Martigny
Jo after the long and fast descent into Martigny
Martigny was the beginning of the climb to the Swiss/Italian boarder. 35km's of road lay head of us, then the off road would begin. Would we be able to ride it, or would we already be so tired we'd have to push up the footpaths? It was getting light as we turned off the main road that leads the lorries upto the Grand St Bernard Tunnel.  We turned our light's off and had our first bite to eat in the town of Orsieres.  Dried banana's, cereal bars and breakfast biscuits.  I have bad teeth from years of snacking on such food's so for the last year I have been on a low sugar diet, if not sugar free eating dried fruit and nuts often when out riding.  But for today I was eating anything to keep me fueled...
Orsieres 06:50
Energy gel and water refuelling time in the Swiss Val Ferret:
First gel of the day 07:20
One of many places to get water

08:50 Off Road

The road after La Fouly came to an end, so after some more water, toilet breaks & food we began riding up the fire road.  We had kept a steady pace all morning, so, as the track steepened it was with no surprise that we jumped off our bikes and started pushing.
Jo begining the off road 08:50
Half way up the farm has diversified with an endeavour my farming Father would be proud of.  Food and accommodation for TMB hikers.  They serve the best apple juice of the trip, and with Jo shouting something about bonking again, we shared a glass before heading for the top.
Best apple juice around
We began to meet our first groups of walkers of the morning and it was a little concerning to see them in full waterproofs, gloves and hats coming from the col, the col that we couldn't see because of the mist. We were travelling light and quick, Killian Jornet style. The Swiss Meteo and Italian's had given a positive outlook for the majority of the day till late afternoon. 

6 hours in
A few quick photo's at the Col de Grand Ferret (2537m) at 10:30 and it was down into Italy...






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Many thanks to Lorne for some of the cracking photos : http://www.lornecameron.com