It was a beautiful clear blue sky day, or what Sam the chalet manager called a ‘Bluebird day’. With my bike purring beneath me and my first clear view of the snow-capped mountains, I felt a mixture of excitement tinged with apprehension at not knowing exactly what lay ahead. My mission was to ride a few of the well-known routes in the area before the first cycling guests arrived, so I decided on the closest and shortest ride as a first off.
The Ride. I set off towards Bourg Saint Maurice and took a right hand turn up a small road in Hauteville. This avoided having to go into Bourg, and linked to the main Les Arc road. It cut the corner off, avoiding the less pleasant aspects of the town and got me onto smaller more interesting roads; my kind of route! I continued on up, taking smaller road options to the right hand side of the main road where possible, catching sight of a baby adder basking on the warm tarmac. I soon found myself back on the main road and on pretty easy gradients of ~6%. I descended back down through Vallandry and the attractive valley of Peisey Nancroix.
The ride highlighted the difference between the newer, wider post ski industry road, which had a slightly lower gradient and the older, narrower, multi-switch-back road which was quieter with more interesting distractions to take my mind of the climb.
Verdict: This would make a good evening training ride if you are into that sort of thing, but for me it was spoilt by the ski resorts and the wide access road. Just call me fussy.
Notes for future rides:
1) Could take the old road to the left hand side of the main road as a more interesting option
2) To lengthen the ride and increase the ‘adventure’ aspect could take the road that goes from Villaroger up to Les Arc 2000. Not paved but worth investigating.
3) Missed a couple of interesting roads descending from Nancroix to Landry.
Post script: I hugely improved on this ride on my Autumn trip, by including point 2 and 3 above. Check out Ghostly Ski Resorts & Off Road Bliss