I woke today pretty zonked. I fell asleep on the bed watching telly. Yesterday’s very long day had taken its toll but the rest had done me good. Coffee on, muesli sorted I soon came back to life. The sun was shining and I was already looking at the mountains and thinking about today’s ride given I didn’t get chance to plan or even look last night. I checked the forecast and it was going to rain with possible thunderstorms PM so I decided to get out ASAP.
I jumped on the laptop and planned a simple 60km ish round route that took in a couple of climbs, the Cold de L’Encranaz (or Ancranaz on the summit sign!) and the Col de Joux Verte, one I have done previously. Done.
A quick change, into the basement to get the bike, Garmin set and away I go. The first few km are a great descent, very windy down the Valley from Les Gets although traffic lights for roadworks spolit it half way down. A right signposted Pras de Lys and I was on the lower slopes of the Col de la Ramaz where the Tour had descended in the rain last Saturday. I caught my first rider of the week. A glance from this portly fellow, a mumbled Bonjour and I slipped past and the right onto the L’Encranaz. Not a pure climb this one from this side. Beautifully quiet and picturesque but very up and down and round before the final kick up and then I was there at the top without knowing really. A quick selfie and I was of on the descent. Shocking road surface to start with then my Garmin took me off to the left and a dead end for half a mile. I turned round, retraced and joined the route once the Garmin had righted itself. Eventually I hit the lower roads where there are obviously more homes/chalets and the road surface got 10 times better. Great descent but this side looked way harder to climb than the way I had.
When I hit the bottom, I was at the bottom of the valley between Morzine and Les Gets and I descended further before a right and back up to Montriond on he outskirts and then left to start the Joux Verte. Couple of things, they had widened and improved the road massively from what I could remember. It used to be a narrow lane, now its a wide open main highway to a ski lift which I suspect is new(ish) and wasn’t there when I last came here. I also noted the signs. On significant climbs now, each KM is marked with how many to go to the summit, your current altitude and the average % gradient for the next KM. Its good and bad. When you see 12km to go and do the maths and look up where you are going, its a head fuck but when you get the 1km to go, oh joy of joys.
The Joux Verte starts off nice and polite at about 6 or 7% and you are riding on tarmac you could carpet your front room with. It was sunny but not exceptionally hot. I stopped for a pic of the beautiful Lac du Montriond. It looked so inviting. And then I plodded on to the ski lift.
Now the road gets narrow and kicks up and switches back on itself relentlessy for the next few km at 10 or 11%. The shade of the trees help then you pop out at the top, past some bars and restaurants and back into the trees where the gradient eases again and then kicks up to the summit on the Avoriaz road. I stopped here for another summit selfie and I saw the Avoriaz summit was only 1.3km away. Do I do it? Nah, I’ll keep that for the whole climb later in the week. I took off down now towards Morzine. The top is a long, wide open, safe descent then you hit a long series of hairpins to deal with. The heat as you descend is lovely and when I hit Morzine I was feeling pretty hot and cooked to be honest. Been a long time since I’ve climbed so high and for so long. I decided to just head back and expected to suffer up the 5km drag back to Les Gets but I got a 2nd wind and passed a couple of groups and before I knew it I was back.
Straight to a bar for a cold beer and the ‘menu du jour’ which was veg in a mayo sauce for starter, chicken and rice with peppers, onions etc, a cheese and salad course, ice cream and a coffee. Tip top!
Back to my room I showered and played on Strava for a bit and then decided to go shopping and get in the pool and hot tub. Hard life! The thunderstorm came and went as predicted. Glad I got round dry.
My tan lines had developed in a matter of hours and I was already planning tomorrows ride.
I stayed in tonight. Cooked myself a cyclist sized bowl of pesto pasta and slurped down good dose of red wine. Salut!
TV then sleep. Zzzzzzzzzz!