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Showing posts from May, 2015

My new favourite place- Part 3

It is possible to beat what you thought was a world class trail when in GapRead Part 1 and Part 2.
I woke after a warm nights sleep.  The wind had died down too as I ate my breakfast and took my time to pack everything away.  I was in no rush today.  It was very mild even at 8am & the scenery was stunning.
From my research I decided to bolt on an extra descent onto a circular loop ride near where I had ridden yesterday.  The climb would be long, beginning on a very minor backroad, and then slogging up a fire road. Over 2 hours later I was nearing the top.
The first part of the descent felt familiar, like Saleve or Servoz. Within beech and pine tree terrain, roots, switchbacks, fast and fun. Again, part way down I stopped to take in the views when it cleared momentarily. Lower down things opened a little and began to feel like the southern alps should.  Dry dusty ribbons of singletrack through pines and spiky bushes.  And then really open terrain, rocky, baron and dry. Grippy and a fu…

My new favourite place- Part 2

Desperation is rewardedRead part one here. I didn't sleep all that well.  The constant wind on the tent and rain storms throughout the night meant the temperature was pretty close to zero.  My old sleeping bag was not good enough, even with a down jacket on. Meteo France was predicting gusts upto 80kms on summits, I was half way up the hillside.
I woke, packed up and followed the winding road in search of the main road, coffee, croissants and phone signal.  I got into Crest and found a patisserie to, again do some online weather searching.  I'd seen a sign for GAP, along with Marseille. The latter being to far to drive for my 3 day trip.  However Gap seemed to be having better weather.  Today it would still be windy, but less grey than around the Vercors Massif.  The drive would be close to 3 hours, and I deliberately chose some back roads to try and take in some scenic roads and minor valleys.  The drive was great, but only a warm up for what was to come.

As I got close to Gap, …

My new favourite place- Part 1

DiscoveryAfter a 9 days of riding in a row I was still up for more.  Tired legs, an increased appetite, and still with a hunger for more descending.
However Chamonix weather wasn't playing ball.  I had no work, it's quiet time at the moment, but I also had nobody available to join me for adventure's. Solo it was to be.  I sat in my apartment and looked where I could go to find good weather.  First option, Finale.  Stormy down on the coast.  Inland around Switzerland, also stormy.  The closest weather window appeared to be just below Grenoble, and westwards.

Heading around Grenoble the skies where still grey, the wind was still blowing, but the temperature was creeping up.  I turned off the motorway, and headed left (west). I'd planned to spend the next couple of days around Die and Crest in the southern Vercors pre-alpine Massif.  As I lost mobile phone signal and the central line markings on the road you could feel the change from the Haute Savoie to the Mediterranean. C…

Les Carroz

So close, yet so new to me.  Note to self, must go back!Maxime was on hand to guide a small fast group of us around just below the recent new snowfall line in this lesser known Haute Savoie ski station. There seems to be more exploring to do to link up some descents.  The bottom descent from straight out of les Carroz village started with fast drifty corners that got several of our group carried away well off line.  Then into an exposed traverse which leads into super tight and steep committing switchbacks.  You need your brakes here!  Lower down it speeds up in the gorge as you cross metal bridges from side to side of the steep rocky walled trail.  It ends up spitting you out at the bottom of Magland, in the Arve Valley near to where the base jumpers and wingsuiters land!

The following day I dragged the boys up to Loriaz and zoomed back down, we shuttled Merlet twice and then got the jeep up to the top of Prarion for a lap down to le Fayet.  About 3000metres of descending!

The trail with everything

LoriazAre you looking for a good work out on the way up? Are you looking for awesome views of the Mont Blanc Massif? Are you looking for alpine singletrack? Are you looking for tight switchback after switchback? Are you looking for fast loamy traversing sections? Are you looking for that trail that begs you to go faster, and then throws up a challenge?
An hour and a half up and lucky Tom, he was treated to another Oli special baguette filling.  Pork in cider sauce.  I hadn't been up in a year when I showed my new friend Gloria the way.  She's since disappeared back to America to write for Bicycling Mag but keeps threatening a return with a nice full suspension Juliana bike (womans version of a santa cruz).
The descent rewarded with every kind of trail and even finishes right in the middle of a picturesque hamlet near Vallorcine.