It 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 loop 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. If during your cycling holiday in the French Alps, you have been furiously ‘Col bagging’ all week, then this ride makes a nice change and allows you to get some good miles in without being too hard.
I stopped at the lake to take a quick break and eat a banana, then continued on my way. The downhill section is good enough to get up some speed, but without the need to always be on your brakes and concentrating when going down steep slopes with hairpins. After you come back down to the main road and then go over a slight climb before Valbonnais, the road only gradually increases in gradient until the last 4 kilometres of the Col D’Ornon are back to the ‘normal’ inclines of 8% or so.
Of course then there is the nice descent down into Bourg D’Oisans – most of the corners are quite sweeping (not too many hairpins) so you can take it easy for the rest of the ride back down to the valley.
If you want to check out the Garmin file I recorded on this ride, see here: http://connect.garmin.com/player/162425634#