Getting off the beaten track

Most of the groups whom I provide accommodation for and ride with that come over to Bourg d’Oisans are very much focussed on getting up the ‘big name’ cols – Galibier, Glandon and Croix de Fer (as well as of course Alpe d’Huez).  While this is entirely understandable – as it’s why they’ve chosen to come here rather than somewhere like Provence, for example, there are many other ‘unknown’ rides very close by that offer up some impressive scenery, quiet roads, and often a sleepy village at the end of the climb. Continue reading “Getting off the beaten track”

Pretending to be a Pro Cyclist….

I’ve written a blog entry on my website about the Dutch charity event ‘Alpe d’Huzes’ already – where 8000 Dutch ride up Alpe d’Huez up to 6 times to raise money to fight cancer.  This year I managed to get a few photos during the ride up, and due to the enthusiasm and noise from the Dutch supporters it really is easy to believe that you are a pro about to win a mountain stage….. Continue reading “Pretending to be a Pro Cyclist….”

My First Ascent of Mont Ventoux…comparisons to the Galibier and Alpe d’Huez

Cycling Ascents - Accommodation and Training Camps at the foot of Alpe d'HuezI was lucky enough to get an invite for a space in my current guest’s van for their trip down to Mont Ventoux.  It was a toss up between that and possibly getting on TV – as TF1, one of the main TV channels in France was doing a piece on the upcoming Tour de France stage, and our club had been contacted to provide local cyclists to film!  However as I’m not interested in fame and fortune 🙂 I decided that Mont Ventoux was the way to go, especially as I’ve never ridden there before. Continue reading “My First Ascent of Mont Ventoux…comparisons to the Galibier and Alpe d’Huez”

Alpe d’Huez in the Snow

Cycling AscentsI’ve ridden up Alpe d’Huez a few times whilst snow was on the ground – but never when snow was actually falling.  The weather is a little crazy here at the moment, but it’s safe to say that I wasn’t expecting snow when we set off this morning! Continue reading “Alpe d’Huez in the Snow”

Mountain Biking for dummies….

Cycling AscentsI guess that I always used to look at mountain biking as not for ‘serious’ cyclists – just for people who like to muck about on a bike.  Having now been out for a couple of rides on my first ever mountain bike – bought second hand from the local bike hire shop – I can see that ‘just mucking about’ is actually a lot of fun (I guess that’s not too surprising if I’d really thought about it).  Perhaps more surprisingly (well for me anyway) is that it’s also quite hard work! Continue reading “Mountain Biking for dummies….”

Col de Sarennes

Cycling AscentsThis week I decided to ride over the Col de Sarennes – the ‘back’ way up to Alpe D’Huez, as it has been a while since I’ve been over that way, and it’s one of my favourite rides.  As I’m not training for any races now, I decided that I’d take it easy, and bring along the camera as there are often some great views to capture up there.  I wasn’t disappointed Continue reading “Col de Sarennes”

Exploring New Climbs…

Cycling AscentsNow that my ‘race season’ has finished, I’m scouring Strava for new routes and climbs I can do before the winter approaches and my choice of rides is severely limited.  For those of you who haven’t used Strava before, it’s a web based tool where you can track your rides by downloading GPS data and then compare your times over routes and climbs to other people.  Continue reading “Exploring New Climbs…”

Riding Alpe D’Huez

Cycling AscentsLiving 2 minutes ride from the bottom of the Alpe D’Huez climb is pretty cool – but I ride up it at lot less than you probably think.  Most of the time I go up only part-way and then head off along a ride the locals call ‘Les Balcons’ (the balconies) – which gives great views of the valley and the mountains.

The reason for not riding it that often is two-fold….

Continue reading “Riding Alpe D’Huez”

Training for La Marmotte

Cycling AscentsSo as the Marmotte sportive is looming (and the Vaujany, the week before), I thought I should check out the route that I’ll be doing on race day at least once beforehand.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, La Marmotte is the sportive – the original and supposedly the hardest in Europe.  Continue reading “Training for La Marmotte”

First ride of the Madeleine

Cycling AscentsAfter an easy day on the bike (the weather and the previous days riding made this essential!) the next target on the list was the Col de la Madeleine.  I had never ridden this col before, so was only too happy to go along with my guests to experience this climb.  The Madeleine is situated in the ‘next’ valley north from Bourg D’Oisans – and to get there you go over the Col du Glandon.  When we set off in the van it was raining and cloudy, but as we came up and over the Glandon, and down the other side, we ended up with sunshine and blue skies – result!  Continue reading “First ride of the Madeleine”

Col du Galibier with the Aussies

Cycling AscentsSo after tackling La Berarde the previous day, our guests (a very friendly bunch of Aussies) wanted to go for the big one – the Galibier.  Luckily, the road had opened only the day before so we were clear for a shot at the highest pass in the area, at 2645 metres (although you knew that, given my banner picture above!). Continue reading “Col du Galibier with the Aussies”

First Guests of 2012 – ride to La Berarde

Cycling AscentsOur first guests of the year arrived at the end of May, and no sooner had they unloaded the bikes they were off up Alpe D’Huez while there was still daylight!  The following day, we decided that the ride up to La Berarde would be a good one to start with – not too hard or too long, but with excellent views and a nice village at the end with a number of ride up to La Berardecafes/restaurants to have a relaxing drink or bite to eat with a view of the mountains.  Continue reading “First Guests of 2012 – ride to La Berarde”

Cycling Holidays in the French Alps – alternatives to the big Cols

Cycling AscentsIt had been a while since I rode this particular route, and it’s a nice change to slogging up a long climb to turn around and come back the same way (as I did the other week up the Col du Lautaret!).  This loopLac Laffrey takes in a more gentle route past Lac Laffrey, and then back up the other side of the Col D’Ornon (not a big one at 1371 metres).  There is a nice section after the climb up to the lake that includes some small up hill sections, but mostly a gentle descent over 25 – 30 km.  Continue reading “Cycling Holidays in the French Alps – alternatives to the big Cols”

More winter Col exploration

Cycling Ascents10 Mar, 2012

So a spur of the moment decision had me cycling up the Col du Lautaret.  The first 2/3rds of the ride were just as I expected, fairly easy gradients, a relatively relaxing winter ‘getting the miles in’ ride. I treated myself to a break and a snack at La Grave, about half way up the climb. Things were looking good till I got to a small village on the route called Villar-d’Arene. Continue reading “More winter Col exploration”

How far can you get up the Croix de Fer in February?

Col de la Croix de Fer

Cycling Ascents28 February, 2012

It was another sunny day here in Bourg D’Oisans, so I decided that I might try and do a Col de la Croix de Ferlittle ‘uphill’ stuff today. Most of my rides so far this year have been sticking to the flat, mainly in order to try to keep my heart rate down (not easy with my current level of fitness!) whilst doing some ‘endurance building’ rides but also because it’s too cold to come downhill at any speed! Continue reading “How far can you get up the Croix de Fer in February?”

Got out on the bike yesterday but it’s cold!

Cycling Ascents21 February, 2012

Went for a ride outside yesterday as the sun was shining, and I’m rapidly losing motivation for the indoor turbo trainer! So I put my skiing gloves on and warmest ‘roubaix’ leggings and jacket and went for it. It was fine in the sun but when I was in the shade of the valleys it sure was cold! Here’s the temperature log from my Garmin 800 (great piece of kit by the way): Continue reading “Got out on the bike yesterday but it’s cold!”