On July 9th I took a short trip up to Les Deux Alpes.
When I planned this trip, I scheduled a few days in La Grave, but I didn't have anything specific planned for Wednesday, July 9th. I thought I might need or want a rest day, but as it turns out I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to take a short ride up to Les Deux Alpes, visiting a climb that has been used in the Tour de France, although pretty rarely.
The day started dry but cool, which made the descent toward the lake relatively comfortable. I was wearing the heavy jacket I bought yesterday, which helped quite a bit. Just after crossing the dam and turning onto D213, the road begins a gentle climb up to the ski resort. After a couple of hairpins dutifully numbered, you reach the pretty little village of Mont-de-Lans, where I stripped off my outer layers.
Les Deux Alpes is a year-round ski resort, and the road is wide, well-paved and has a consistent and moderate grade. It runs through a very pretty wooded mountainside, but after Mont-de-Lans there are few views of the surrounding valleys.
|The neighboring village|
As I reached the top, it began to rain heavily. I hadn't actually known before I got there that it was a ski resort, so I was surprised to see that it was huge, a long line of hotels, restaurants, and ski shops. I put on the heavy jacket I bought the day before, but the rain was still cold and I hadn't even started the descent yet. After a while I walked into one of the ski shops, bought ski gloves and yet another jacket, put all of my warm-weather gear on together, and started the descent.
|The view from the hotel, with lots of post-processing|
Despite the rain, the wide road was a pleasant descent, and by the time I got back down to Mont-de-Lans it was warm enough to strip off a layer or two. I continued down to the dam, then back up the now-familiar climb to La Grave.
This day's ride was just 31 miles, with 3566 feet of climbing. My analysis program broke the climb into two parts, the first part 2 miles long and the second 3 miles, both averaging about 7.5%. The most difficult kilometer was in the second part, at just 8.4%.
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