Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Albertville 1

With two days of backpack behind us we could look forward to a few days of pack-free rides in which we headed out, crossed a pass or two before heading back to base camp and rehydration 1664-style.
Day 3: 107 km and ~2200 m gained.
With Karel's arrival we were now a troupe of 7. He decided to show the rest of us up by arriving with a MTB and hairy legs. The plan for the day was to tick quite a few cols, including the Tamie, the Maraie, the Croix de Fry, the Aravis (again) and the Saises. Before departing proper, however, we made an attempt to find a bike shop such that BT could have his freewheel changed/serviced - an impossibility in Albertville on a Monday, as it turned out. BT was understandably nervous about any further high speed adventures and decided to do a flat ride for the day, and Greggles chose to keep him company. The rest of us eventually headed off, direction Col de Tamie. This turned out to be a lovely little climb of even grade and well shaded, just what the doctor ordered on what turned out to be another bloody hot day. I think all of us were a little concerned as to how Karel would keep up on the MTB. We needn't have been, as he was not too far down, spinning away in that tiny gear, and predominantly seated, to minimize bob from the front shocks. We continued north down a lovely little valley, before descending into Faverges where bottles were filled. Next on the menu was the gentle climb towards the benign Col du Marais (843 m). Nige was obviously intent on capitalising on his good climbing form by taking the Tamie, but I managed to sneak the Marais. After the consumption of sandwiches at the base of the Croix Fry, the main climb of the day commenced. This turned out to be probably the hardest col of the trip for me - a combination of grade, heat and no escape from the sun. Nigel took the col (1467 m), followed by Kev, Ham, Karel, and finally moi. The cokes in the shade of the chalet were life savers. A short but steep descent got us back onto the upper slopes of the Aravis (Nige victorious, and more Coca!), before screaming down once again to Flumet and the start of the Saises. However, everyone was so burnt at this stage that the decision to exit stage right and take the gorge road direction Albertville, was unanimous. On the run into Albertville, Karel (who had obviously been foxing at the back for most of the day), fueled by pilsner, carrots and"smashed potatoes", surprised us all with the stage win. Whilst Nige certainly scored the spotty prize for the day, awarding of the green to either Nige or Kev was a matter of contention.

the crew
Kev sans albatross and liking it
Karel on the Tammie

above Albertville
on the Croix Fry

BT tempting fate

Albertville from Conflans

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