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Die in France....

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  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    knedlicky wrote:
    Great photo!
    All your visits to Die and only now the first time you’ve seen Mont Aiguille not shrouded in cloud - wait till you see it, without cloud, coming from the North!
    That's one for this Summer!! Not forgotten! And the Canyon des Ecouges too...
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Hi Brian, I have just read your post over in the Pro Race section. Stage 6 of the Dauphine looks fantastic - will you be there?

    On a separate note I'm planning on being in Pont en Royans 21-23 July then we are heading over to your neck of the woods, Die, from 24-27 July. It would be nice to meet up for a beer if you are about?

    I'm also after a bit of advice. Your blog covers the cycling side of things nicely but which camp site would you recommend? I looked at the camping municipal Justin which looks nice and seems to be a good location for walking into town in the evening? Can you also recommend any restaurants? Food wise, we like good basic local food and wine!

    I read the Paddy Ashdown book which was a fantastic read. Although I had cycled past memorials I had not truly appreciated the devastation inflicted on the people of the area.

    Thanks.
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    brucey72 wrote:
    which camp site would you recommend? I looked at the camping municipal Justin which looks nice and seems to be a good location for walking into town in the evening?
    The municipal campsite (Camping de Justin) is fine - close to the town, its price good value, good-size plots, and with an efficient friendly woman in charge (Virginie). I found it quiet, clean and well-cared for, although I was there in late June 2014, not the main season as you will be, when things may be different. With that in mind, it might also be advisable for you to reserve in advance.
    I found the plots farther away from the entrance area pleasanter and grassier (i.e. plot nos 100+ and 200+), and with fewer Dutch (I’ve noticed in several campsites the Dutch seem to favour little enclaves not far from the entrance). Campers also get free access to the municipal outdoor baths adjacent the campsite, so don’t forget your cozzie!
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Now I know you really know the area, Knedlicky! Yes, do book up in advance. Good point about swimming cozzies - must be of the skin-tight sort (no swimming shorts allowed in France - you will actually be hauled out if you try swimming in them). And yes, you will notice a preponderance of Dutch folk - it's an invasion for about five weeks, and they aren't greatly loved by the locals (though they probably do keep the town afloat).

    Brucey - no, not there for the Dauphiné, sadly, especially since I know every inch of the route from Mens. The descent through the tunnels from the Col de Grimone should be insane. Yes, it would be lovely to meet up then - I've got a few Exeter Wheelers staying with me that week, and I don't think they'd refuse some beer, though I'm not sure when we'll be off TdF-watching... the plan is for them to see the Alpe d'Huez stage on the Saturday then to head back to the ferry. Other than that we'll be riding around all the local mountains. I'll keep an eye on this thread nearer the time.

    Glad you enjoyed the book! Apart from the grim history, it's full of characters too.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Update: the Tour de France went through Die today (though with bad planning, I was in Truro), so I'm hoping that the fact that they had a sprint there means that the approach to Die has been resurfaced - it's been rubbish for ages. It looked smooth and pretty in the sun:

    dieroad.jpg

    I get there tomorrow evening. Yippee.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Just a note for those in the area - they've resurfaced the road between Leoncel and St Jean-en-Royans again (they only did it last year) and it's a tar-and-chippings job, and they haven't swept the chippings yet. Don't plan on a fast descent, or a smooth ascent at the moment.

    Other than that, it's glorious here. The contrast with what I'm hearing about the British weather is marked: mid-30s - almost a little too warm ... but not quite.
  • Just a quick thanks to knedlicky for his suggestion of routes - two cracking ones to Col d'Allimas (a hard ride from Die, with 10,000ft of climbing) and the Canyon des Ecouges done this time.

    If you do go to the latter, make sure that you have a look round the corner at the top of the tunnel and, er, have a little walk along the old bit of balcony road that the tunnel bypasses (I suspect it's supposed to be out-of=bounds, but no-one's repaired the old bit of fence to stop you having a look). You've seen those 'World's most dangerous roads' programmes' - well, this one comes pretty close - this is the view from it:

    DSC03470.20150805blog.jpg

    I've updated the lists of cols and routes, if it's any help.

    Cols
    Routes
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Holy schmoly, thread resuscitation... just that if anyone is heading down towards Provence/Mont Ventoux, and plans a stop off, I've added more routes to the list of GPS routes here: https://unanglaisendiois.wordpress.com/routes/

    2016 was a vintage year for me there, with 4000 miles on the clock; this year, fewer weeks left me on 2,800. I think it would be fair to say that I know the Diois area pretty well now. It still amuses me to read this thread back from the beginning, and my complete ignorance of the joys to come.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    Some great routes there, the Ecrins is a beautiful part of France and i need to go back soon!
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    edited October 2017
    knedlicky wrote:
    Had a look at your routes to see what ground you’ve covered and here’s two suggestions where to ride and which you seemingly haven’t yet ‘discovered’:

    To the NW, the Col de Jérôme Cavalli.
    It’s on the road going north from Gigors-et-Lorezon, lovely landscape on the south side and practically no vehicular traffic. The pass is named after a French flying ace, killed in WW2 – there’s a monument to him at the top of the pass.
    You could go to Plan-de-Baix via Sainte Croix and the Col de la Croix, and then from there do a clockwise circuit: G-et-L, C. d. Jérôme Cavalli, Col des Limouches, then (as you’ve done before) Col de Bacchus, back to Plan-de-Baix.

    To the NE, the Col des Deux and the Col de l’Allimas.
    C. d. l’Allimas is on the north side of Mont Aiguille (which you probably noticed ahead of you when descending to Clelles), and C. d. Deux is farther north again. What I like about these passes, which are also very quiet, are the distant views, especially when riding southwards. Going over the Col des Deux, you have the craggy ridge and cliffs of the Vercors massif always high up on the right. Then going over the Col de l’Allimas, there is Mont Aiguille in front, as if blocking the way and ever more imposing as you approach it.
    You could go Clelles as you did before, then on to St. Michel-les-Portes, and from there this anticlockwise circuit: Monestier-de-Clermont, St. Guillaume, St Andéol (you’ll see the ridge and cliffs becoming closer ahead of you as you approach St Andéol), Col des Deux, Gresse-en-Vercors, Col de l’Allimas, back to St. Michel-les-Portes.
    Haha, finally got round to doing the Col des Deux this August (having done Col de l'Allimas a couple of years ago) - an absolute stunner, even if the top part of the descent needs to be taken with great care. I definitely preferred Col de l'Allimas from the north, as I like sharp ascents and gentler descents.

    EDIT - photo added...

    img_20170829_125929042_hdrblog.jpg?w=748
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,651
    Inspirational! (The blog, the pics, and all the routes) :-)
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
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  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,369
    Good stuff.

    Which road was the highest metalled one on the Vercors?
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    davidof wrote:
    Good stuff.

    Which road was the highest metalled one on the Vercors?
    Only just metalled (in places)! The route forestière that goes through Ferme de la Coche between St Martin-en-Vercors and Rousset, on the easterm leg of this route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24095751 It would be a really tough 800m ascent from St Martin to the 1502m top. I went the other way from Rousset, but the descent to St Martin is sketchy and steep.

    https://unanglaisendiois.wordpress.com/ ... -la-coche/

    Great road though, with impressive views and interesting solutions to getting up & down.

    img_20170803_115029869_hdrblog.jpg?w=500
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,369
    That looks really nice, it doesn't sound very high mind.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    davidof wrote:
    That looks really nice, it doesn't sound very high mind.
    It's not - but then the highest mountain on Vercors is 'only' 2300m or so. One of the nice upsides is that the cols often open fairly early, so even in February you can get some decent climbing in... though I'd not risk a RF then.

    The highest col within a day's ride of me is Col de Menée, at 1402m - I have to go over to Ecrins or Dévoluy for the nearer bigger stuff, but Col de la Bonette is a nice day trip as well, as is Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux. But, to be honest, there is so much lovely riding close by that I rarely bother going far afield. I can still easily notch up 10,000ft in a day's riding from home. The valley floor is about 200-400m, so the climbs out of the valley are challenging enough for general riding.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,369
    davidof wrote:
    That looks really nice, it doesn't sound very high mind.
    It's not - but then the highest mountain on Vercors is 'only' 2300m or so. One of the nice upsides is that the cols often open fairly early, so even in February you can get some decent climbing in... though I'd not risk a RF then.

    The highest col within a day's ride of me is Col de Menée, at 1402m - I have to go over to Ecrins or Dévoluy for the nearer bigger stuff, but Col de la Bonette is a nice day trip as well, as is Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux. But, to be honest, there is so much lovely riding close by that I rarely bother going far afield. I can still easily notch up 10,000ft in a day's riding from home. The valley floor is about 200-400m, so the climbs out of the valley are challenging enough for general riding.

    Out of interest did you look at the col de la Molière above Autrans? That's tarmac'd and goes to around 1650 meters?

    or the Route de Feneys in the same area?

    5609171373_93c4c9a5dd_b.jpg

    which goes to over 1550 meters?

    Something to do next summer in any case.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    davidof wrote:

    Out of interest did you look at the col de la Molière above Autrans? That's tarmac'd and goes to around 1650 meters?

    or the Route de Feneys in the same area?

    which goes to over 1550 meters?

    Something to do next summer in any case.
    Aha - missed those, thanks. I'll amend my listing, though I think Autrans & back in a day on the bike from my place is probably just a bit too far. I might have to wait till I have friends with a car staying. I need to do Gorges du Nan too, and the Canyon d'Ecouges to the bottom, which again really need a car to make the day feasible.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,369
    davidof wrote:

    Out of interest did you look at the col de la Molière above Autrans? That's tarmac'd and goes to around 1650 meters?

    or the Route de Feneys in the same area?

    which goes to over 1550 meters?

    Something to do next summer in any case.
    Aha - missed those, thanks. I'll amend my listing, though I think Autrans & back in a day on the bike from my place is probably just a bit too far. I might have to wait till I have friends with a car staying. I need to do Gorges du Nan too, and the Canyon d'Ecouges to the bottom, which again really need a car to make the day feasible.

    From the Col de la Molière you can see Mont Blanc, and if you descend the track on the other side to the refuge de la Molière you can have lunch, beyond the refuge the track is not great on a road bike.

    The Tunnel du Mortier down to Grenoble is cyclable now too on a road bike. The road has been cleared. First time this year since 1992.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    davidof wrote:
    davidof wrote:

    Out of interest did you look at the col de la Molière above Autrans? That's tarmac'd and goes to around 1650 meters?

    or the Route de Feneys in the same area?

    which goes to over 1550 meters?

    Something to do next summer in any case.
    Aha - missed those, thanks. I'll amend my listing, though I think Autrans & back in a day on the bike from my place is probably just a bit too far. I might have to wait till I have friends with a car staying. I need to do Gorges du Nan too, and the Canyon d'Ecouges to the bottom, which again really need a car to make the day feasible.

    From the Col de la Molière you can see Mont Blanc, and if you descend the track on the other side to the refuge de la Molière you can have lunch, beyond the refuge the track is not great on a road bike.

    The Tunnel du Mortier down to Grenoble is cyclable now too on a road bike. The road has been cleared. First time this year since 1992.
    Ooh - I did wonder about that one - I've seen it on the map, but feared it would be like les Grands Goulets - shut to the public for evermore. A project for me for next summer. :)http://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/fr ... rance.html
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    davidof wrote:
    Yes, that's a passable video of an astonishing road. A friend and I sneaked round the gate: I walked down, and friend cycled down, though we got found out by a road worker who came down in his van. We got away with apologising.

    f5f35-dsc09994_24-10-2013.jpg
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I need to do ... the Canyon d'Ecouges to the bottom, which again really need a car to make the day feasible.
    I thought you did the Canyon des Ecouges a couple of years ago? I walked most of the closed road along the cliff face, before (with more trepidation) half-cycling the road through the unlit tunnel (because I was without lights).
    If you've not been to the bottom, when you get there, pause and look up into the canyon – I was able to watch a group of about six people "canyonning" down the last part of the gorge, presumably they having set off from high up.
    davidof wrote:
    The Grands-Coulets road looks great.
    It's a pity it's closed - I suppose that's what's expected of authorities when 200 m³ of rock sensationally fall on a couple of unfortunate people every 3-4 years of so, even if pretty insignificant compared to many other causes of death one could legislate against.
    Isn't there a tunnel now roughly following the same route but inside the rockface – but just meant for the transmigration in spring and autumn of local farmers' sheep? If I'm correct, I wonder why it isn't open to ramblers (and MTB cyclists) with lights, like the tunnels in the Gorges du Verdon are.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    knedlicky wrote:
    I need to do ... the Canyon d'Ecouges to the bottom, which again really need a car to make the day feasible.
    I thought you did the Canyon des Ecouges a couple of years ago? I walked most of the closed road along the cliff face, before (with more trepidation) half-cycling the road through the unlit tunnel (because I was without lights).
    If you've not been to the bottom, when you get there, pause and look up into the canyon – I was able to watch a group of about six people "canyonning" down the last part of the gorge, presumably they having set off from high up.
    davidof wrote:
    The Grands-Coulets road looks great.
    It's a pity it's closed - I suppose that's what's expected of authorities when 200 m³ of rock sensationally fall on a couple of unfortunate people every 3-4 years of so, even if pretty insignificant compared to many other causes of death one could legislate against.
    Isn't there a tunnel now roughly following the same route but inside the rockface – but just meant for the transmigration in spring and autumn of local farmers' sheep? If I'm correct, I wonder why it isn't open to ramblers (and MTB cyclists) with lights, like the tunnels in the Gorges du Verdon are.
    Gorges d'Ecouges - I walked a reasonable chunk of the 'closed' balcony road a couple of years ago, yes, but totally chickened out of the rabbit warren tunnel. I want to go back with some 6-billion lumen lights. Still not sure if I'll be brave enough though.

    Grands Goulets - there's a splendid modern tunnel, about 1km long (rideable without lights, as the lighting is so good). They are also trying to engineer a path on the other side of the gorge from which people can view the old road. In fact, there was a brief chance to look at the road a week or two ago, when they opened it up for a visit for a select few people (without them having to climb round the gate at the top), but I think it unlikely that'll ever be anything other than a rarity. I don't think there's another tunnel. They have actually spent a shedload of money on the more major Vercors roads (Gorges de la Bourne especially), but those are one's where there aren't realistic alternatives. Now that the Grands Goulets tunnnel is there, there's no economic incentive (quite apart from the safety/engineering aspects of the balcony road). I think that if Combe Laval ever suffered a major collapse, that might suffer the same fate, as they could probably quite easily upgrade the road/track over the top (col de l'Echarisson, I think).
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Incidentally, here are some pictures of the Grands Goulets rock falls:

    1996
    124689.jpg

    5549.jpg

    2003
    118302.jpg

    I'm not going to say that it's "health and safety gone mad".

    I'd not seen the first two before.
  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,706
    That's when you need one of those things they tell you to put on your head when you are cycling. Forget what they are called right now.. And think of the Youtube clips..
  • Hello,
    I created www.mycol.cz , where are my trips from the mountains and future trips for the next year. Maybe they would help other cyclists :roll:
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Thread resuscitation...

    A heads-up that, if you're heading to Vercors, the bonkers Combe Laval is currently closed because of a rockfall.

    870x489_dflefuhxcaethw5.jpg

    Though not serious in itself (it's easily cleared), the nature of the road is that there will have to be a thorough inspection (due next week) in case it's an indicator of something worse. Let's hope it's not a long closure... if you do go to Vercors, it really is a road you need to see... one of the wonders of the modern world.

    img_20170827_115246693_hdrblog.jpg

    On a happier note (for me), I'll be in Die for six weeks from the last week in July. If you're in that direction, give me a shout, and I'll put the kettle on. Always happy to advise on routes in the area. :)
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