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Cycling the French Alps Part II, France

Col de la Croix de Fer and Col d’Ornon

sunny 80 °F

The riding portion of our cycle trip through the French Alps was done in two sections with a three night rest stop in La Toussuire. This post will cover the second section of our bike touring starting from La Toussuire, riding over Col de la Croix de Fer, Col d’Ornon and down to Grenoble. The route looked like this:

After a few days of watching the pros in Le Tour, we were pumped up and ready to get an early start for our long journey over the Col de La Croix de Fer. The weather had been great on our trip so far, but on our departure morning we unfortunately woke up to strong winds and rain! So while Kevin packed up the place, Robin headed out with umbrella in search of French pastries. Luckily, despite being Bastille Day, two bakeries were open, so we had a ‘pan de chocolate’ taste off.

By noon, the weather seemed to be clearing, and we headed out. The beginning of our ride was a 14km downhill descent to the start of the Col de la Croix de Fer, which then ascends 24 km up for a grueling climb to reach the 2,067 meter summit. At only 4 km into the accent, the next kilometer’s average elevation gain was at 10%!

Luckily, the weather cleared and the middle part of the ride flattened out a bit until we reached the last 5km of switchbacks up to the top.

After the climb, we descended past Col du Glandon’s summit for over an hour until we finally reached what appeared to be another uphill. At that point we were only about 10k from Allemond and conveniently located in a river gorge so decided to set up camp.

When we rode around Allemond the next day, we laughed at the number of people we saw walking around with baguettes either in their hand or sticking out of a bag they were carrying. It was a small cute town with a weekend town fair in the central park. We stocked up on goodies for lunch and dinner and ten headed into Écrins National Park, home of our last climb of the trip, Col d’Ornon. This stretch of the trip was probably the most beautiful of our entire bike trip. Riding through the national park was peaceful and stunning. We rode along deep gorges, thick forests and cute lifestyle plot farms. One of the fun things we found along the roads of the Alps are these bathtub sized water fountains that continually flow with crisp, cold mountain water (the elixir of all that ails you). They are sometimes out in the open but are usually embedded into the hill side along the road like this one:

In La Mure the next morning, we treated ourselves to a crepe and petite coffee before heading out to what seemed like an endless 40 km downhill descent into Grenoble. We were coming out of the big mountains and loving it… today the sign was reversed and we enjoyed our 10% downhill grade!

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:59 Archived in France

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I love pain de chocolate! You guys are hard core!!
PS Where are the bike helmets? :)

by Megan DiBiase

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