I set off late in the afternoon after a car trip to Albertville in the morning (in search of some sunshine). Turned west on the D88 and decided to see if I could find the VTT route that keeps to the south of the Isere beyond Aime. This was attempt number 2 at trying to link Notre Dame du Pre to Aime without going through the tunnel.
The Ride. This time I started out on the right road which followed the valley, with wooded mountains on the left and the ravenous fast flowing Isere river on the right. The road started as tarmac and then poorly maintained tarmac, and finally hard-pack gravel with occasional rocky sections. The road came to an end, I back-tracked and turned right into the valley down a steep rocky section, all ride-able. I crossed a little bridge and had to push the bike up a steep fairly rocky ascent (~10 mins). Ride-able on a mountain bike but didn’t have the gears on the road bike. Came out on the dreaded N90 but turned left and almost immediately right on to a long straight section of a small road through Villette.
After 1 km I turned right on a very small tarmac road that rose steeply up the valley side via a narrow set of switch-backs. Steep but loads of things to look at and no cars! Eventually came to the village of Charvaz, where I turned left and crossed the Tessens. Decided to keep high and take an un-surfaced road that linked with the Granier road, passing an unfriendly farmer with a mobile milking parlour and his noisy cows.
Returned home along the D86a through Granier, clocking the turning up to Cormet d’Areches and passed a sign saying it was closed, before turning down to Landry via Bellentre. (was Cormet d’Areches really closed or just playing hard to get? It was the start of one of my larger rides that I had pre-planned before I came out so I wanted it to be open at some point ….)
The Verdict: Infinite amount of variations, but a good 2 to 3-hour ride for a gap in the showers, with some lovely small quiet lanes and a minimal amount of un-surfaced road.
Some interesting sections which would slot into other rides, particularly the southeastern extension of the river valley road (the beginnings of the closing of the southwest passage…..)