After a decent rest day I fancied a bit more of a challenge. Morzine was great fun but I now wanted to really test how far I can push my bike…so I decided to climb 1,400m up to the Col de Pierre Carrée and back, totalling 84km.
For a start, the original route I had planned a bit misleading as GoogleMaps said this was a suitable bike path…
Adding an extra 7km to my journey, I turned back and began the climb up the main road leading to Flaine. The road started on a 6% incline and it soon became clear that it wouldn’t get any easier other than going through the two towns en route to the summit. About 15 minutes in and already looking out over the valley from a decent height, I started to doubt whether this would be possible. The maps showed that I had barely begun and I was already shattered.
I continued on the relentless climb with the Black Angels as my soundtrack and found my second wind. I was soon up in Arâche-la-Frasse where I stopped for a break of electrolytes and belgian waffles. The road continued uphill from here shifting between a 6 and 8% gradient but I was motivated by the route signs indicating the altitude constantly increasing.
I’d soon cleared the majority of hairpin corners and was on the final ascent up to the summit. The weather took a slight turn for the worse with rain putting doubt in my mind whether it would be safe to eventually descend the roads. By this point my body was screaming with pain but all I could do was soldier on.
The roads continued to get worse but at least the rain had stopped and the roads dried just enough by the time I reached the top of the mountain at 1884m. The total climb was 1400m over 20km and I was ecstatic.
I’ve never experienced such a rush of looking out over the valley of mountains. I’ve only ever been so high up with a snowboard and the Alpes had a dreamfully eery air to them.
The descent down was a hell of a lot more intimidating than I imagined it would be. Having to contend with cracked and rough roads I had to hold back on my speed maintaining a speed of about 25mph and constantly speed checking but it was a huge rush nonetheless.
After a number of hairy turns I was back at Arâche-la-Frasse and I needed a rest to catch my breath and ease out a motherfucker of a cramp. A quick cigarette and pint later and I was feeling right as rain for the final descent back down to ground level.
Now things became a little more fun with intense hairpin corners, super narrow straights, terrifying cliff drops a lot more speed…skiddy skiddy!!
Finally at the bottom, I counted my blessings and headed back home.
It’s always a perfect end to a day riding off into the sunset, with a little rain shower to keep you cool.
Needless to say, I have paid the price of such a ridiculous climb. I’m now on my third day of recovery and my legs are just about back to normal.
Tomorrow I’ll be taking it easy now that my brother has joined me and we’ll be heading out for a long 100km odd ride to Annecy, around the stunning Lac d’Annecy to take in some sights, and back.