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Old 10-15-2012, 08:27 AM   #16
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Friday 9/7

Today would be a round trip, as we stay on the shores of Lac D’Annecy again tonight. We came in from the North and West, crossing the Swiss/France Boarder 5 times, would be heading to the S when we leave. So the wife and I decided to head out to the NE on small roads, along the Swiss/Italy/French borders.

We started out on the small Col de Bluffy, which is a popular bicycling road, but not quite Tour de France caliber, the next climb was the Col de la Colombiere, which has been part of the Tour 20 times since 1960.

The climb from the West is interesting and scenic, but like most of the Rockies, not really challenging for a corner fanatic. We stopped for a few pics at the top and headed down the East side, a much more entertaining road.


Another vid, some find boring, some interesting, so your choice. Switch to HD if you have the speed, they look much better.

A ride down E side of Col de la Colombeire.





Heading up Plan de Saleve:



Still had hazy morning skies as we headed up Col de la Colombiere





View NE from top of Colombiere:





We were headed toward what looked like a great bunch or roads near the Swiss border, the Col de Joux (Plane and Verte) and the Col’s de la Ramez, Savoliere, and l’encrenaz. You can imagine my disappointment when we rolled to the base of de Joux I started to see some professional rally cars. Fearing my playground for the day was closed for a race, I headed up anyway, sure enough no ride to the top today.

Not knowing where the start was, I headed west, hoping to at least pick up part of the loop, but no dice. It was all closed off.
So we meandered back, and decided to ride some small roads that again looked interesting, and found some great pavement with little traffic.

Afternoon haze back at the top of Plan de Saleve





Later skies cleared a little, as we headed over Col du Collet and Col des Glieres, one of many small dirt roads we would ride on this trip. The more I ride the more I seem to gravitate to the small dirt roads.








We got back late afternoon and enjoyed a couple of beverages under the shade trees overlooking the lake.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #17
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Saturday 9/8


Yea, it is a weekend, but by traveling this late in the season, traffic was a non-issue.



Today’s ride was up and down and up again! Eight Cols (passes) on the agenda today. Many if not all have been part of the Tour de France Cols’ Forclaz, Tamie, Madeleine, Glandon, d’Huez, Serenne, Lautaret and d’Izoard





LOTS of pictures today, not only did the weather clear, the scenery was phenomenal!



We decided to ride with a couple of other solo riders today, or should I say they decided to follow us. Up and over the first 2 passes, it was getting time for a break, and when Pussy beckons, it is a no brainer!





Stopped here for a nice cappuccino






The town is on a dead end road, so the streets offer lots of room to play and beautiful views








After a nice break we were off again, the high passes put you above the tree line, and the landscape is somewhat stark at the top.
Col de la Madeleine








Up Col du Glandon





We stopped for Lunch atop Glandon, and ate on the terrace with this view








A nice plate of Pasta and bread, and we were off again!





Up the L’Alpe d’Huez, a famous Tour de France stage, where there have been estimates of over a million spectators! Luckily they all went home and we had the place almost to ourselves.

Than down the back side Col de Sarenne, much rougher and narrower, but beautiful landscape.





















We were running a little long today, the GPS calculated we would make it just in time for dinner, so we contemplated for about 2 seconds, whether to take the direct route, or the high twisty one, you can guess which one won.



The view from the top of the Col d’Izoard was worth the risk of having to go to bed with just dessert.












We got into the hotel to find dinner was moved later, so time for a glass of wine and shower, before another wonderful meal, and more wine
The view from our room.







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Old 10-19-2012, 09:09 AM   #18
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OK here is a video from 9/8. Some people like them, others find them equivalent to watching paint dry. BUT, they do give you the best feel for what the riding is like, even though the camera has a tendency to straighten out the curves, my average speed was about 55 km/hr (34 mph)

This was my first attempt at helmet mounted vids, I got a lot of wind noise, which is annoying, but music is too IMHO, so if you just barely turn the sound on, you do get a little feel for the ride, just with a noisy helmet and no ear plugs.

If you have the speed, watch in HD too, This is heading up the north ramp of Col de la Madeleine


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Old 10-19-2012, 11:37 AM   #19
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Bloody lovely!
The helmet mount gives such a good feel for the way you ride and read the road.
Massively enjoying the spirited ride and another YAY for the real sound!
My movie has an incessant roar of wind noise,thinking of taping over the mike.....
What's the spec of the camera please?
(and,cos I'm techno-thick,how do I get HD?)
Loving this,many thanks
Lorenz
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:01 PM   #20
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I know where I'm going next year!
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:30 PM   #21
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I know where I'm going next year!

yeah?
what time next year?

we're thinking July~ish for a change....

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Old 10-19-2012, 03:49 PM   #22
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Almost always September for us.
Kids back at school,shoulder season,cheaper rates ...etc,etc.

Remember July in France = Td'F .
100 year anniversary next year.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonzodg View Post
Bloody lovely!
The helmet mount gives such a good feel for the way you ride and read the road.
Massively enjoying the spirited ride and another YAY for the real sound!
My movie has an incessant roar of wind noise,thinking of taping over the mike.....
What's the spec of the camera please?
(and,cos I'm techno-thick,how do I get HD?)
Loving this,many thanks
Lorenz

Gopro 2, to get HD on YouTube, click on the gear shaped icon in the lower right corner of the menu tray, it gives you several choices of resolution.

Just got a remote microphone for the GOPRO, so I can play with different location without wind noise concerns. I will have to play, come spring.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:35 PM   #24
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Sunday 9/9


Today was a free day meaning we did not have to ride as we would be returning to the same hotel tonight. But there was not much chance of that happening. The wife did decide to stay in town, so today I would be riding solo. Today’s route would include the highest paved pass in the Alps, the Col de la Bonette, and going the other way two very nice Gorges.




The morning view from our room .











AL, the van driver was riding today on the spare bike, and I had ridden with him since 2007 so we took off together. When we got to the bottom of Vars, we ran into Rob and another rider from the tour, so we grouped up for part of the day.


A view from the top of Col de Vars







Even though it was Sunday, traffic was very light, there were, however quite a few Motorcycles on the road today. After heading up and over Col de Vars, we stopped for a cappuccino before heading up Bonette.



Not sure what this is, but they will never have to replace the roof.




Being the highest paved pass, and with the weather clearing nicely, the views were gorgeous so we lingered amongst the several other riders and took a bunch of pictures. Along the ridge near the top there are still some military bunkers probably from WW II. It must have been very lonely and cold, sitting there watching and waiting for the enemy. On the other hand without war many of these roads not exist.


Top of one of the observation bunkers is visible here, with a wonderful but lonely view .






And the bunker on the other side and its view, I assumed they are connected underneath the ridge.












How we get up here








View from the top














How we’re getting down











Remains of Camp des Fourches just down from the top of Bonette, it was built between 1896 and 1910, and like the bunkers on the other side, served as military outposts.











After descending Bonette, next up was Col de la Couilloie. a cool little narrow, gnarly road that clings to the side of the gorge, as it winds to to the top.





Village with a view









We stopped to fill up in the quaint little village of Beuil, and then headed into the Gorges. Although the Gorges offered a reverse view of the passes, they are great little roads that twist and turn first down the Gorge du Cians then back up Gorge de Daluis.








On the way back we decided to take the less traveled Col des Champs and Col d'Allos, both were very nice little road, although Allos was quite rough, but the views were wonderful.




View from the top of Col d’Allos







Man I love to see this on the GPS






And in 3-D Vision










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Old 10-20-2012, 04:40 PM   #25
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Any idea why the 2 people walking facing left in the middle of the photo just above the black and white awning look like ghosts? Just curious. Beautiful pics by the way.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #26
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Any idea why the 2 people walking facing left in the middle of the photo just above the black and white awning look like ghosts? Just curious. Beautiful pics by the way.

Funny I never noticed, that pic was one I was playing with HDR, I had taken 3 shots bracketing the exposure, the software blends the shots, so it was one person running, and the software must have played tricks with it, trying to blend it.
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:07 AM   #27
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Thanks for the nice pictures from some of my preferred roads that I try to ride at least once per year.

The bunkers you saw on top of the Bonnette road were part of the Maginot line from WWII. It is not well known but the Maginot line was very efficient in the Alps against the Italian army which attacked AFTER the French army was nearly completely destroyed by the German army.

These specific bunkers are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouvrage_Restefond

There are a lot of the Maginot forts in the Alps and there are always in beautiful places. Some are restored by associations and open for visit.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:02 AM   #28
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Great pics and report. Subscribed
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:48 PM   #29
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Gorges du Cians. Again sound sucks, just turn it down most of the way, and pretend you forgot to put your ear plugs in.




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Old 10-27-2012, 07:31 PM   #30
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Mon 9/10
Staying high


Today’s profile




Every trip he has special days, with images that are indelibly burned into your brain, today was one of those days. After booking the tour I preceded two order detailed Michelin maps of the region's we would be traveling. While perusing the maps, doing a little reconnaissance, I spied a road along the French and Italian border that piqued my interest. Boy you have to love technology. I sat down at the computer and fired up Google maps. Google street view has extensive coverage of small back roads in Europe, which is a great tool to plan routes. Sure enough the road looked just as phenomenal close-up, 30 switchbacks in what measured to be five kilometers! And street view confirmed it was a narrow paved road, the type I live for.


While looking around the area in street view I also spied another road, it didn't look that twisty but looked narrow and remote. I dragged street view icon over to the road and my screen filled with a wonderful panoramic view. I continued to drag the icon along the road and everywhere I stopped the scenery was just breathtaking. Although not paved, the road looked easily passable on a GS, even 2 up. It is a destination road for off road riders and bicyclists, in fact in the summer it is only open to bicycles a couple days a week, called the
Strada dell' Assietta. It is so obscure it doesn’t even show up on the GPS and several maps

I had talked with Rob about the road and he said he had been up there but not in a few years. He was a worthwhile trip, but said he would not send everybody up there, as it could be challenging in places, but said he had no problem with the capabilities of the people on this tour.


Looking at the routes on the tour, it appeared I could incorporate this road into the tour a couple of different days. When we woke up a clear whether this morning, after an overnight rain, so today was the day to head up.


We headed back north over the Col d'Isord. When we were coming back to the hotel last night often the distance we saw some black clouds and even a few strokes of lightning. Luckily we did not get wet getting back, but the storm must are settled over the Col. The pavement was littered with stones in several places where their rain had washed them over the road. There was even some remnants of snow, that had accumulated along the road, and still evident in the grass, but this morning was brisk and clear.



Morning at the top of Col d'Isord.






We headed east toward the Assietta. As we came into the town before the turn off we ran into Rob and two other riders from the tour. It was mid-morning so it was time for cappuccino before heading up the road. It was a perfect clear day so I knew the viewers would be gorgeous, and sure enough they were. As we headed up the road, I began to worry that two other riders who were on street bikes with street tires might find this a big challenge.


West ramp to the Assietta.






About five kilometers of climbing through ever rising Meadows, we crested a ridge and were greeted by the breathtaking view of the valley before us.




Two R bikes pretending they are GS’s












The dirt road was approximately 30 km long traversing a high ridge the entire way. Each kilometer brought ever changing views of the valley's on both sides of the ridge.












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