It was no hardship to leave our rather grim hotel room and head out of Allevard at 8.00 on what was a very pleasant descent to the Isére valley, parallel to a fast flowing river and towards Grenoble, which we skirted. The roads were quiet and the countryside opened up as we went through the day, but always with the backdrop of the mountains, some still with patches of snow. We had a photo shoot at a magnificent suspension bridge over the Isére river before starting a climb to the village of Vif where we had a very welcome coffee stop at a café which was full of local men, all friendly and who took a keen interest in the bikes and what we were up to.
We then learned the true meaning of ‘cheeky’ which, like a wine apparently carries a percentage, in this case of 12% although that’s the gradient, not the strength. A truly mean climb which took some serious energy but using the inevitable ‘what goes up’ theory, we had a thrilling descent on the other side, over another fine bridge & the climb to Col de Cornillon at 885 mts where we enjoyed the views, took photos and generally got our breath back. I had resigned myself, at this point, to being a steady climber, with no aspirations other than to get to the top. For whatever reason, my legs just didn’t have the strength to generate a lot of power.
What followed was another great descent through the town of Mens and despite being eager to get to Corps, we pulled over at the huge EDF hydro power dam at the bottom of the valley. What an incredible structure, as the photos will show. I don’t think I have ever seen a wall of concrete quite so tall and sheer, it is truly magnificent. This sight buoyed us up quite nicely for the run along the shores of Lac du Sautet before another climb into our home for the evening in the small town of Corps and The Hostel de Poste.
Our room here was, like, the hotel in general, quite quirky & we enjoyed a light and airy bedroom with steps up to a small balcony with views of the town’s rooftops and mountains, beyond. Main course dinner was, quite unusually, a burger at a restaurant down the road, but as it was a nicely made burger and came with chips and red wine, I for one was not complaining. Spirits were high and everyone was pleased to be leaving the days ‘cheeky’ climbs well behind.
Stats of the day:
2,186 mts of climbing