A few local loops

One of the joys of the area around Die is the ability to make up so many different types of route, from day-long epics, to quick there-and-back training loops. I’ll add some more epics in due course, but if you’re in the area, and you’d like some ideas for shorter rides, here are a few of the ones I’ve done, mostly in the 90 minutes to 3 hour range.

I’ll start with a virtually pan-flat 39-mile course west to Aouste along the D93 – this would make a great time trial course, as there are relatively few junctions, great road surface, and a roundabout each end: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350037

Next up – one of the first rides I did in the area, with a nice climb, some beautiful views and a long fun descent (watch for a few of the earlier corners on which you might need to back off top speed in case of traffic coming the other way): http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350119

Heading out east, there are a few nice loops. Firstly, a nice short one (7 miles) to Pont-le-Quart: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350119. Secondly, 16 miles out to Recoubeau: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350144, and thirdly an extension of that to Luc-en-Diois, with some nice rolling downhill sections on the return: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350155

If you want to do some reasonably serious climbing, here are two routes. Firstly, 32 miles to the Col de Pennes: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350170 – the ascent is about 2500ft, and though the descent isn’t suited to great speed, you’ll get some stunning views of the Drôme valley and right over to the high Alps. Secondly, the classic Col de Rousset: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3350187. If you haven’t done a full-on alpine climb before, this is a good start – about an hour’s climb (my best time so far is 57’30”) with no difficult sections (nothing over 10%), and a really nice descent. If you can do this, you can do Alpe d’Huez. And the view at the top is breathtaking.

View from the descent from Col de Pennes
View from the Col de Rousset

Three classic routes

As time goes on I’ll post as many of the routes that I’ve done as I can, both as an aide memoire for me, and as a resource for other cyclists using Die as a base. This time round there are three new routes, in each of which I wanted to try out some roads new to me, and to create some ‘classic’ rides. I was pleased with each, though the credit for that goes to the superb scenery and roads round here.

The first route is the one I did with James Morrison up the Gorges de la Bourne. A couple of notes – I think we missed a nice little bit of balcony at Les Goulets, as an alternative, just before the long tunnel after La Chapelle-en-Vercors; and you can take an alternative route down from Villard, by cutting over the hills instead of going back down part of the gorge. Try to do this when the weather up on the Vercors is going to be good: it can be really unpleasant up there while Die is baking in the sun all day.
 91 miles, Die – Gorges de la Bourne
Next was this solo effort, in which I wanted to get views of Mont Aiguille and the high Alps. Only four cols, but a cracking ride, with the added bonus of the Gorges des Gâts.
78 miles, Die – Col de Menée – Mens – Col de Grimone
Lastly, a bit of a toughie, starting with Col de la Chaudière, but a great mix of scenery. 
Don’t take the elevation data too literally: you’ll notice that Ridewithgps can’t handle tunnels or snaky gorges at all well, so climbing totals get severely exaggerated where there is much of either. That said, these are all routes where you’ll want some decent climbing legs and food to power you over the cols. There were no problems finding water to top up bottles en route.