Through Snow And Streams…

Col du Lautaret is to the left of that wall of snow in the centre of the frame and about 600m higher than the bike seat

I decided to ride up to the 2,058m high pass “Col du Lautaret” on Thursday afternoon (a round trip of over 50km) mainly to see if the trail was clear (of snow) all the way to the top.   With the amazing end to the season I kinda figured some parts wouldn’t be passable…I figured right

Avalanche @ 1,800m

From our village it’s a pretty easy fire road, riding next to the river “La Guisane” and then some nice singletrack through the trees but always climbing so even by the time you reach Villeneuve (about 7km) you’re already feeling it.   All the pistes (of Chantemerle, Villeneuve & Monetier) are now clear so that makes things slightly easier

Further up La Guisane

It’s not until you get well into the Nature Reserve “Pics du Combeynot” and about 1,800m high when the riding starts getting a little trickier.  The melting snow higher up and all around makes for some very fast flowing streams mini-rivers this time of year that cross the trail in numerous places – the trick is to try and wheelie or manual over them (this was done with varying degrees of success).  Some parts of the trail had turned into a stream of icy water and slippery rocks but the higher you get the worse it gets.  There’s places where the trail is still covered in snow so you push down hard to get some speed up to get through it only to find it’s a crust of slushy snow with flowing water underneath; you sink, lose your balance, put your foot down and  get a good Alpine-sock-soaking

Fast flowing streams of melt water

Higher up still the trail just completely disappears under snow so there was a certain amount of bike pushing and carrying over rocks and scree to get back onto it.  I made it to the top, muddy, wet, out of breath and looking forward to the ride back down 🙂

Here are the best cam-phone shots from the 4hr:16mn ride…

Endurance test over…now for the fun bit 😉



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