This day really made me tired of all odd road choices I had planned in and how they held me up. Going 168.2 km this day would not have been possible without the long flat stretch later in the day up to Albertville. I always say I want to plan hard but good roads, but somehow I always trick myself into some seemingly brief troublesome road sections. Still only have a record kilometre on average somewhere around 175 km a day for a cycling holiday at least 2 weeks in a row. With good roads and hard climbs it should be easy to beat that average even for me, but with my road choices – no chance.
The forest road down from Les Seiglières (actually a location for an unnamed pass) was all fine (basically), but then I had decided to actually go over the Col du Rousset (919m) which is nicely asphalted to the pass and it looks like a short-cut to get back to the main road by just continuing ahead. There were supposed to be a short piece of gravel and although it was not long (like 1.5 km) it turned out that big forestry machines was just now using it, but even so I almost succeeded in cycling the loose and destroyed dirt road, but was not exactly saving time on the short-cut, which ended by an extremely steep ramp on broken asphalt.
Back on the main high road from Chamrousse to Allevard. Around the mountain (Mont Morel) and then up the next valley from Le Mas Julien (753m). This sweet little road climbs quite steeply up a seeming cul-de-sac road to Pré du Fourneau (1130m), but from here a gravel road takes one up the side of the valley to Col de Pré Long (1202m) reached after 2 km on this road that is just about usable with a road bike. It is actually worst at the parking at this pass, below which the asphalt road returns. I even had a car or two pass me by on this obscure gravel road. It was again just about what I could deal with this day. And I think I had some of those evil horse flies trying to bite me while up here.
It was however a lovely downhill ride on a very good road. I stopped near meeting the main road again for this photo.
Then again time for a very short gravel section (ca. 300m) up to Col du Rolland (897m) trying to collect the few possible passes in the area that I had missed upon my previous visit here. Again stinging insects and I had to take a quick photo and quickly return even if it looked very nice here as you can see in the photo.
Then it was up and down the Col des Mouilles (1021m) which is the next highest pass along the main road. Then up and down the Col du Lautaret (984m). From just before Col des Ayes (944m), I turned down toward Les Adrets, and took an easy (for once) short-cut (all asphalted) to Col de la Croix des Adrets/Col d’Hurtières (871m), which was the easiest pass this day. Also the next pass was an T/R to Col de la Croix de Theys (799m) below. The postal delivery guy likely wondered what I was up to when going up and down there while he was driving around in the area and met him three times.
Then the easy road around to Theys (612m) – only problem is studying the map to make sure one takes the right one. It was very hot now in Theys and I looked around for a place serving anything in Theys, but no luck.
It was tiresome climb to Col du Barioz/Barrioz/Col de Bariot (1041m) which is the highest pass on the main road to Villard and also the last one on the way there, which made me keep up a decent speed. Here the direct road down to Villard was closed, but then I got to use the other road that I had not used before and it is not much longer.
Down at St-Pierre-d’Allevard (512m) (another unnamed pass) I stopped by a big supermarket and bought a one litre ice cream and warm coca-cola as they have not yet found out in France that many people like to drink their soda chilled (should I never stop complaining about the fine French traditions?). Yes, I know smaller and extremely expensive shops sell chilled soda in France (at prices matched only by Michelin starred restaurants outside France (well sometimes)). Too much ice cream and soda and heat did not make me feel much better. I tried to find a place for a cold soda in Villard, but there were only like two boring pubs open, so I continued after circling around there for a while.
I had originally thought about going up to Le Collet de’Allevard/Super Collet (1642m), but no more cul-de-sac roads to ski resorts even if it was a BIG climb, esp. not now when I was loosing time and needed to catch up to get to my sister in Chamonix on time. I stopped next in Arvillard (488m) (also an unnamed pass) where I found a nice little boulangerie (bakery) and got something to eat and drink standing outside.
The climb up here to Val Pelouse (1728m) looks both harder, higher and nicer than the Super Collet climb. I now continued via the nice village of Presle up to Col du Grand Cucheron (1188m) which is a classic climb that I had not visited before, but decided to go back the same way (the last 3 kilometres or so) to go over the Col de Champ-Laurent (1116m). So I only got a glimpse into the valley leading up to the many famous passes up the Maurienne valley, but I mostly have a few cul-de-sac roads left to climb in that huge valley now. I guess one could spend two weeks climbing every day new roads in that valley alone – almost as many places to climb to as in the most climb dense valleys like Valtellina, Vinschgau/Venosta, Aosta and of course Wallis/Valais (which beats them all in that regard).
Col de Champ-Laurent is a very nice pass and the road down the main valley up to Albertville is quite a nice one, which should really be used in the other direction and would make this pass a demanding one.
I stopped again at Chamoux-sur Gelon (310m) for a last bakery visit similar to the Arvillard to stop. Then there were a long ride up the main valley, but luckily as I had dragged out on time, it was now around 6 pm and it was now breathable down here. I kept to the right side of the valley on the D925, which is a good road for cycling. Eventually I arrived at Albertville maybe at around 7 pm. I looked longingly up the Isere valley that I had planned going up and visit Val Thorens (2403m), La Plagne (2125m) and go over Cormet de Roselend (1968m) again, but I had agreed with myself to save the climbs in this area for another time to make sure I got to Chamonix just one day behind my schedule as I knew I had a tight schedule from there on.
Thought about stopping here again, but as it was now after 19:00, I better get going if I wanted to get somewhere else for the night and I surely did not want to stay in Albertville (332m). I found the right road from memory out of the town. I continued up to Queige, where I really was determined to find a place to stay at for the night, but could not find anything. Then I know the little pass above and thought that there should be a place there to stay at. I went up in a full speed to get there before it would start to get too late to go somewhere else.
It is a bit steep up there and it took some time and I found no place to stop at up there either. Took a last photo and got stung at last by one of the stinging insects also working overtime. I got back down to Queige (535m) from Col de la Forclaz (de Queige) (874m) via La Poyat. Then continued hurriedly up toward Beaufort, but rather tired now. There was nothing before Villard-sur-Duron, where I asked for a place, but the man there suggested I continue to Beaufort. However, there is a hotel just at the turn-off before Beaufort for Col des Saisies (1657m). They got a room for me and were nice to sell me a sandwich and Leffe beer. Got in contact to tell my sister again that I now knew I would arrive in the afternoon the next day (Saturday).