5 Days in the Alps...

cgfw201
cgfw201 Posts: 674
edited September 2016 in Tour & expedition
So a group of us have booked a motorhome to head off to the Alps for the first time in August.

Got 5 full days (Wed-Sun) available for riding and obviously have the ability to drive around a bit too with the motorhome.

So far we're considering something like
- 2x days based in Bourg, take in Croix de Fer, Alpe d'Huez, Lacets and maybe Madeleine
- 2x days based in Annecy, one semi rest day around the lake, one trip up Semnoz
- 1x day do half the drive back and stop in Flanders and take in a few bergs before getting the eurotunnel

This is completely flexible.

Who has some advice/better suggestions for us?

Comments

  • snowley
    snowley Posts: 149
    Sounds amazing!

    I wouldn't change much of it, but it would depend on the ability of the riders going and the type of riding conditions they are used to. It could be extremely hot on those days, and with the altitude could be tougher than you expect, so don't ruin yourselves on the first day..
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    That is sensible. None of us really done much bigger than Holme Moss to date.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    cgfw201 wrote:
    So a group of us have booked a motorhome to head off to the Alps for the first time in August.

    Got 5 full days (Wed-Sun) available for riding and obviously have the ability to drive around a bit too with the motorhome.

    So far we're considering something like
    - 2x days based in Bourg, take in Croix de Fer, Alpe d'Huez, Lacets and maybe Madeleine
    - 2x days based in Annecy, one semi rest day around the lake, one trip up Semnoz
    - 1x day do half the drive back and stop in Flanders and take in a few bergs before getting the eurotunnel

    This is completely flexible.

    Who has some advice/better suggestions for us?

    The Maurienne valley would be better than Bourg for Madeleine, Croix der Fer, Mollard, Glandon, Lacets/Chaussy, Telegraphe/Galibier. St Jean du Maurienne is a nice town.

    Alpe d'Huez massively overrated IMHO.

    Allow yourself time to rest, the heat and climbing will take their toll.
  • whoof
    whoof Posts: 756
    If you are doing the Col de Croix de Fer from Bourg d'Oisans side you may as well do the Col Du Glandon as well as it's only a few hundred metres side trip.
    Also beware the average gradient 27.5 km at 4.7% average sounds easy. But this includes a 1 km descent in the middle.
    http://www.climbbybike.com/profile.asp? ... ainID=6110
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 18,880
    SheffSimon wrote:
    Alpe d'Huez massively overrated IMHO.
    Wouldn't disagree with that greatly - nothing other than a load of touristy stuff at the top, not a view that really unfolds amazingly as you ascend, and too many people at busy times to make the descent a "wheeeeee!" one. Of course it's "iconic" (to use that over-used word), so if that matters, do it. But if you're short on time and the pleasure of the cycling and spectacular views is your thing, there are better climbs not far away.
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    Think Huez will happen, but will do it at start of ride and then head down to Croix de Fer,

    Day 1 - Do Alpe d'Huez + Glandon + Croix de Fer from Bourg, then drive round to St Jean de Maurienne for next two days and ride from there, and then a couple of days based on Lake Annecy.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    cgfw201 wrote:
    Think Huez will happen, but will do it at start of ride and then head down to Croix de Fer,

    Day 1 - Do Alpe d'Huez + Glandon + Croix de Fer from Bourg, then drive round to St Jean de Maurienne for next two days and ride from there, and then a couple of days based on Lake Annecy.

    NIce, will be a great trip I'm sure.

    There's a nice little bike friendly restaurant called Les Favets on the Bourg side of the Croix de Fer, about halfway up.

    The Glandon from the Maurienne side is a beautiful climb, as is the Croix de Fer from the Maurienne side.
  • I agree that the Alpe is not the best climb but when combined with the Col de Sarenne and the Auris balconies, it becomes really worthwhile as the balconies above Bourg are spectacular. There are also some good there and back climbs on the other side of the valley including col d'Ornon and col d' Oulles. This link is also work looking at as its from the tourist office and lists some ready made routes. http://bike-oisans.com/en/cycling-oisan ... tes-oisans. Le Grave to the Galibier is also a great climb as the views are superb and the pass is more interesting than Alpe D'Huez town.
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    Is this route that I've planned on Strava one that anyone's done?

    Looks like the only way of doing Alpe d'Huez + Croix De Fer within our current itinerary.

    https://www.strava.com/routes/4172012
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,897
    Yes that would be a pretty straightforward route - the road from Huez village you are going down is a narrow shelf road at the top, very scenic, and then a fairly straightforward easy but relatively fast descent near the bottom - quite a nice introduction to descending in the Alps if any of you are new to it.

    Croix de Fer is a really nice climb and worth doing the descent too so not a bad ride. There are cafes at the top of AdH as well as a small one at the top of the Croix de Fer but if you are eating you could try the one near the top of the CdF where the Glandon splits off. As said above the Glandon summit is only 50 metres off the road that goes to the CdF summit.

    It's a decent ride, not an all day epic by any means but enough to be worthwhile for the day.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,897
    The Ornon is mentioned above - if doing that I would carry on round and come back over the Oris or something like that and then Col du Morte which is a really first class descent back to the valley.

    If I were you I'd cut down the travelling - there really is enough within a relatively short distance to keep you occupied for 5 days riding - I'd want to do the Galibier for one and then you've got loads of famous climbs down towards Briancon plus of course the famous ones are not necessarily the nicest they are just the climbs that the Tour can use either for financial or logistical reasons that don't apply to you.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • mac111051
    mac111051 Posts: 92
    Stay here for Col de Glandon- Croix de Fer, Alp du Huez

    http://www.camping-leplan-allemont.com/tarif-uk.html
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    mac111051 wrote:
    Stay here for Col de Glandon- Croix de Fer, Alp du Huez

    http://www.camping-leplan-allemont.com/tarif-uk.html

    OOh that does look cheap and decent. Was leaning towards staying in St Jean de Maurienne and avoiding Bourg + AdH but this looks a lot cheaper than the Camping des Grands Cols in SjM.
  • eric_draven
    eric_draven Posts: 1,192
    phippss wrote:
    I agree that the Alpe is not the best climb but when combined with the Col de Sarenne and the Auris balconies, it becomes really worthwhile as the balconies above Bourg are spectacular. There are also some good there and back climbs on the other side of the valley including col d'Ornon and col d' Oulles. This link is also work looking at as its from the tourist office and lists some ready made routes. http://bike-oisans.com/en/cycling-oisan ... tes-oisans. Le Grave to the Galibier is also a great climb as the views are superb and the pass is more interesting than Alpe D'Huez town.

    That link looks really good will be down in that area myself for a couple of weeks in early august,will give me a few more routes to do,did struggle a bit last time didn't do enough homework to my expense,defo make more of the trip this time,plus last time I went when the tour came in 2013
  • cc78
    cc78 Posts: 599
    Re Annecy/Semnoz... don't miss the Col de la Forclaz on the opposite side of the lake, it's a shorter but steeper climb than Semnoz and the views at the top are incredible...

    1009842_10151829013146100_1250014890_n.jpg?oh=5784cfb200db1958af5a4eabf7e06eb9&oe=57B37090

    You can do a nice loop taking in both climbs, something like this: https://www.strava.com/routes/1010621

    Or if you have more time/energy, take a loop into the Bauges before tackling the steeper west side of Semnoz (this is the way the Tour went in 2013): https://www.strava.com/routes/363243
  • crescent
    crescent Posts: 1,201
    Alpe d'Huez is iconic and most people will want to do it, I would think. I'm glad I did it when I was there but it was probably my least favourite climb - I was there for three days and did Ornon, Col de La Morte, Glandon, CdF, AdH and a few of the balconies above Bourg. I think you can do Alpe d'Huez and then on the descent take one of the balcony roads through Villard Reculas that brings you out towards Allermond which is more or less the start of the long climb up to Glandon and Croix de Fer. Personally, I found Croix de Fer to be the best ride of the trip, beautiful scenery and a fantastic descent back down to BdO.
    The tourist office had a book of routes when I was there (2013). My planned itinerary went out the window when I saw that and I picked a few of the circuitous routes from that. You will be spoilt for choice but it is easy to pick a few of the famous climbs mixed in with some of the balcony road which are definitely a must do in my opinion. My only regret of the trip was that I didn't do Oulles, which is apparently a really nice climb and starts just a few miles from BdO.
    Bianchi ImpulsoBMC Teammachine SLR02 01Trek Domane AL3“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    FInal-ish plan is looking like

    Day 1 - Telegraphe + Galibier
    Day 2 - Glandon + Croix de Fer + Mollard + La Toussuire
    Day 3 - Lacets de Montvernier (rest day)
    Day 4 - Annecy Semnoz + Forclaz
    Day 5 - Round Lake Annecy (rest day)
    Day 6 - Flanders on the way home.

    Mighty exciting.
  • I was disappointed by the Lacets, barely worth getting on your bike for. Carrying on up the Chaussy is definitely worth it though, it's a lovely climb that is pretty much deserted. Nice cafe at the top followed by a lovely forest descent on good tarmac. It brings you out part way up the Madeleine, so either descend down back to the motorhome or do the 14km up to the summit (which is the right answer).
    https://www.bikeauthority.cc/
    IG - bikeauthority.cc
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,897
    Not sure which side you are staying but the CdF is a lovely climb and descent on the Bourg side. I've only done it on a bike once from the other side and that was via the Mollard on last years Marmotte. If you are staying in Bourg /Allemont you could do a mini version of that route missing out the Lacets as you are doing them another day and the Alpe unless you wanted to go large.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    Not sure which side you are staying but the CdF is a lovely climb and descent on the Bourg side. I've only done it on a bike once from the other side and that was via the Mollard on last years Marmotte. If you are staying in Bourg /Allemont you could do a mini version of that route missing out the Lacets as you are doing them another day and the Alpe unless you wanted to go large.

    Staying in St J de M. Alpe is a casualty of this.
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    Bloody hell that was excellent fun.

    Telegraphe, Galibier, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Mollard, La Toussuire, Semnoz (x3) and Forclaz all climbed, all spectacular.

    Great views, great food and what better way to cool off mid/post ride in 40 degree heat than a swim in Lake Annecy!

    Can't wait for the next trip.