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Showing posts from September, 2015

The best of 3 countries, including the best trail of the year

Major and minor hits around the greater Mont Blanc region of Aosta Italy, Valais Switzerland and Savoie France. Tomorrow I head to the souther French Alps, and then onto Finale Ligure.I spent a few days ticking off classic trails in using the le Tour lifts before they closed.  It's good to see tyre tracks on the descent into le Buet. And I even tried a descent I had previously not done above Chatelard.  It was very Swiss, fun and fast. How do the Valaisan's cut such good footpaths?
Aosta delivered with more good's high up near the Beccca France.  It took us about 5 hours to climb nearly 2000m.  Luckily there was a refuge near the top for a drink break.  The descent was worth every minute of suffering with views over the Grand Paradiso Parc, high singletrack lead into almost never ending larch needle covered singletrack that begged you to go fast and then gripped you round every tight corner.  We of course finished with delicious pizza, despite getting ripped off for drinks …

Portail du Fully

Finally getting up there in the Valais, Switzerland
It's been on my list to do for quite a while now and luckily a few things came together to get up there and get it done. Following on from my early season visit I was excited despite the prospect of another 1400 metre climb, only 2 days after having ridden a long way uphill in Italy.
After squeezing into the 10am Dorenaz cable car, from near Martigny we were soon spinning up on the tiny mountain road, that lasted at least an hour till it became a steeper fireroad.
We all kept going, knowing that the prospect of long smooth Valaisian singletrack lay ahead. First we had to have a lunch stop with a view.

The descent starts near a ridgeline before skirting along the west side and then turning around it to traverse across a huge cliff band north of Martigny.  We were told not to fall here!  As the trail got going the speeds picked up on the smooth gravel trail. Another quick push and we were at the main part of the descent, 2km's of t…

Passo Invergneux, 2902m

Aosta Valley paid of whilst France was grey, with sunshine, delightful ribbons of flow and the usual Italian taste bud treats
It started as any good Italian ride should:
And once we started riding, the road soon turned uphill, to what inevitably any good adventure requires, the multiple hour climb to a trailhead:

In our case just under 3 hours of climbing lead us to the Passo Invergneux.  It wasn't too bad a climb, our caffeinated legs sped us up the step tarmac road away from Cogne, and onto the fireroad for a couple of hours before the final hike-a-bike up to the Passo.  We enjoyed the views, shelter from the wind and French baguettes with Tome de Savoie cheese. The tops of the Grand Paradiso National Park range where still snow covered, including the highest, the Grand Paradiso which me and my partner for the day, Rob had ski-toured earlier this spring.

The top of the descent started in a lunar like landscape that was dry and dusty, but actually fairly grippy unlike many gravel tra…

Trans Savoie 2015

Another huge week of race marshalling done and dustedExhausted but ready for more the usual chaos lead into a great week for the competitors. Tons of "epic" descending and high fives everyday come rain or shine, Nico Lau of CUBE / Cube Action Team took the win over Francois Bailly Maitre of BMC / BMC Switzerland with Jamie Nicoll of Polygon Hutchinson United Ride in third.

Me on 'Brown trouser ridge' high above la Plagne.  Find more superb photo's here by Ronan Dugan.
Summer is coming to an end as guiding season is over in Beaufort.  Here's to hoping for a great Autumn with lots of exploring to be done in Swiss Valais, Aosta Valley, Italy and the greater Gap/Briancon/Queryas region of France.