I planned to extend Dome de Vaugelaz I, which was one of my favourite rides in June. So why try to improve it? Dunno! I just thought that perhaps it wasn’t quite long enough, so I added an additional loop to the beginning and the end.
The Ride. The weather was becoming a habit of clear blue sky days, but gradually getting colder. As my ride was on the sunny side of the valley, I was soon ditching my full fingered gloves. The climb from Vulmix (unfortunate name) to la Thuile was an easy warm-up, the road above la Thuile soon turning to hard-pack gravel and becoming more of a grind.
After reaching the dizzying height of 1600 m, the route then descended 300 m, only to rise another 600 m. The descent was horrible and had I known I wouldn’t have included it, so I started the last ascent in a bad frame of mind and I just couldn’t shift it to a sunnier place, even though the sun was shining.
I have a running friend who reckons he can tell when his body changes from processing easily accessible energy (like what you’ve just eaten for breakfast) to your long term energy store (the fat on your thighs and stomach?). Anyway on that account, I felt like my body was accessing a cheese sandwich I had eaten 15 years ago! My legs were complaining and I was fighting to enjoy it. I think my over-expectation probably added to the battle.
I eventually got to the top of the road and caught a glimpse of the valley that I wanted to explore, which cheered me up. From here on I was on new trails and the scenery of the Mont Rosset valley did not disappoint. I stopped for a while at St Guerin chapelle to chat to an English couple on E-mountain bikes, before heading round the hill on forest tracks to the Cormet d’Areches road and back down through Granier, Aime and home.
The Verdict. A difficult one to objectively assess, because it could just be me having a bad day, but my overall impression was that I had pushed the off-road section too far and that a lot of it was too steep or rough for a road bike, unlike the previous ride, were the off-road bits were fun. I think it was more suitable for a mountain bike.