View Grenoble to La Grave in a larger map
Yesterday's ride from Lyon was certainly a transition day, and this was another one. After the traditional French breakfast, the day started with... waiting. I thought I could charge my camera with its USB cable, but that wasn't working. So I decided to wait until the (very close-by) FNAC opened at 10:00 so I could buy a charger. I found one that would work, but was expensive. Maybe it was a bargain, though, since the TSA apparently changed the rules in the previous couple of days, and if my camera couldn't be turned on I risked having to leave it behind.
So it was that despite being up quite early I didn't get moving until around 11.
|Hot Springs at Uriage-Les-Bains|
|A side road off D524|
|At the second hairpin on D211|
When I rode through this area in 2012, I chose an odd hotel nominally in La Garde, a micro-village on the Alpe d'Huez climb, but actually across a gorge and 2000 feet of climbing away. That was inconvenient, but the positive side was that it introduced me to D211a, a little road scratched into the side of the mountain, offering stunning views of the valley below. I wanted to revisit that road on the way to La Grave, which meant climbing up the bottom third of the Alpe d'Huez climb to La Garde, then taking D211a as it peels off.
|Looking east, near the base of the Alpe d'Huez climb. You can just barely see D211a about 2/3 of the way up the mountain.|
|Looking back toward Bourg d'Oisans from D211a|
Riding that spindly little road in practically no visibility was a little worrisome. There's barely room for a car, and the guard walls are pretty low. Overcook a corner, and you're Wile E. Coyote. But my real concern was the weather; if it got much colder I didn't know what I could do. The weather certainly rolled down the valley quickly.
I continued on, and at a four-way intersection I took the wrong turn, entering D211g and the tiny village of... maybe Les Cours? A little lesson in French road numbering: A letter suffix already indicates that the road is a glorified track, and once they get to G, the road is just an afterthought. Accordingly, D211g is tiny, not so much a road as a series of connected driveways. OK, this was obviously wrong. I climbed the steep ramp out of the village to the main road... and made a wrong turn. In fact, it wasn't even the main, minor road -- it was D211e. As it turns out, I did about half the climb up to the ski station at Auris d'Oisans before I decided that surely I would have remembered this from 2012. I should have finished it off, but I was worried about the time, and besides the fog precluded views once I was up there.
So I turned around, following D211a back down toward D1091, the main road through this valley. I knew the hotel was at an elevation of about 1450m, so I was disappointed to rejoin D1091 below 1000 meters. Lots of climbing ahead.
|The view from the hotel in La Grave|