More autumnal glories, and routes…

We certainly hit the jackpot with the weather for the week. On the last day Martin and I were sitting on the steps eating lunch, and it seemed rather warm: a thermometer in the sun clocked the temperature at 37C – not bad for late October, and certainly better than what was on offer in England.

Anyway, some routes cycled this time.

Firstly a rather hilly one cycled with Arved: two hardish cols (Col de la Chaudière and Col de Pennes), and though only 72 miles, Ridewithgps clocks 12,000ft of climbing. Even if that is an overestimate, it was a properly tiring ride, and the climb to the Col de Pennes via the longer southerly route was taxing, though really worth it for the amazing scenery it goes through. Incidentally, not one car passed us from the Col de Lescou to the Col de Pennes, 20 miles in all.

Secondly, a short route round the Vercors plateau. Three highlights: the climb and descent to/from the Col de Rousset (a perfect gradient in both directions, which took me 57 minutes up and 25 minutes down); the Grands Goulets, the most bonkers balcony road you’re ever likely to find; and the lush meadows spread out between the mountains of the plateau.

Our one aborted ride was going to go over the Col de Grimone and back via the Col de Menée (similar, in reverse, to my ride to Mens in August), but the Col de Menée was closed, and given the windiness (gusts up to 60km/h) Arved & I returned via the unexpectedly amazing Cirque d’Archiane.

Photos below from the three rides.

Arved at the Col de la Chaudière
One of the Trois Becs, from the Col de la Chaudière
Les Grands Goulets
On the road back to St Agnan-en-Vercors
A salamander outside my house
Riding done, the Super Six is put to bed.


Autumnal excursions and colours

A week ago I had my normal glance at the Villard-de-Lans webcam to see what I assumed to be a software glitch, as all I could see was snow. But no, the date stamp was up-to-date, and there had indeed been a big snow dump overnight. However, generally very mild weather has been the norm this Autumn, and by the evening nearly all the snow had gone. And I gather that such great variation is to be expected, so I was prepared for anything for my week’s October stay – though, of course, hoping for some warmth and some cycling-friendly weather.
Well, so far,so good: daytime temperatures up to 24C in the shade, though also with dramatic Alpine storms.
I don’t know if this year’s weather has made the autumnal colours especially spectacular, but certainly, for my first October visit, the scenery is perhaps even more breathtaking than in the Summer.
Below are photos from today’s ride up to the Col de Grimone and back via the Cirque d’Archiane (a most dramatic valley indeed). The top photo is from yesterday’s ride to Gigors, and shows Alpine newbie Martin Wright coming over his second Col, the Col de la Croix, with experienced Alpinist Arved Schwendel.
The walnuts were collected from a roadside ditch by Arved and me, on the way back through Châtillon-en-Diois, and the last four photos are from an evening stroll up behind my house towards the Glandasse, dodging some very heavy showers!