DAY 9 on the bike, June 23rd - Voiron to Le Bourg-d'Oisans


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Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Alpe d'Huez
June 23rd 2017
Published: June 25th 2017
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This entry by Tom.

Another day, another superb Kyriad breakfast--the last one of our trip--here on the planet Venus. Yup, it’s going up to the mid-30’s AGAIN today.

We heard stories of some from our group departing at 6am or thereabouts. Not me though. After a relatively long and challenging day on the bike yesterday, Caroline and I shoved off at about 9am with a plan to ride together until about noon. We figured that we could make it through Grenoble to Uriage-les-Bains and possibly Vizille.

We tackled the steep climb out of Voiron and enjoyed the descent to the Isère river. There was traffic on D1075 as expected, maybe a bit more than expected. After several kilometres we saw a sign for a bike path to Grenoble. We checked our maps and couldn’t see it but the traffic was unpleasant plus how far away from the planned route could it be? So off we went.

Turns out there’s a rail trail right next to the Isère river all the way to Grenoble, nearly 20 km from where we joined, and nicely shaded although very slightly less shaded than it was recently. We saw quite a bit of treefall from what must have been a significant storm a few weeks earlier. After about 10 km we came upon a crew that was out cleaning up the trees.

We followed the trail all the way to the bridge that was prescribed in the route to cross the river. We easily found the ramp up to the bridge deck where we saw the new bike paths and tram line. It’s nice! We followed the tried-and-true route through the city and got on D524 towards Uriage.

It was after 11am now and the temperature had risen plus the road was tilting up, too. The last several kilometres to Uriage were a bit of a slog with a couple stops to cool off in the shade, but we made it. We sent out the word for Luce and Donna to come pick up Caroline at the post office in Uriage. They were down the road in Vizille trying and failing to find a parking spot to visit the museum of the French Revolution there. They are setting up for a big party this afternoon in Vizille, probably for St Jean Baptiste, we figured.

Loaded up with water, I hit the road on my own for Le Bourg-d’Oisans. The change I made to the route along D5E and D5 through Brie-et-Angonnes was nice with quiet roads and a modest climb and descent into Vizille, where I saw what Donna and Luce saw.

Turning onto D1091 towards Le Bourg-d’Oisans, I noticed that the part of the road sign directing travelers to Briançon had been blocked out. I thought that was peculiar since I knew that the tunnel near the Chambon dam had been re-opened in April. Then I saw the electronic col status sign that listed Lautaret and Galibier and neither open or closed, and all signs for Briançon after that were blocked out. Maybe the tunnel is closed…? I never asked or found out.

After that it was a bit of a tough ride in the sun and the heat up the Romanche valley--I stopped twice to cool off--then south to Le Bourg-d’Oisans. Reached Hôtel de Milan just before 3pm.

Big changes here for the better since the last time. There are vast expanses of tables and chairs on the main level plus out front, with umbrellas. There is a restaurant serving pizzas, pasta and more. The whole place looked spruced up in general, no peeling paint or wallpaper, plus the room was at least average by average hotel room standards with an above-average bathroom. A very pleasant surprise.

There was no way I was climbing Alpe d’Huez in this heat. The others who’d left early were up the mountain, we heard. I cleaned up and rested in the room with Caroline before heading out to check out the neighbourhood.

Picked up some snacks, a beer and a razor--can’t find mine, must’ve left it behind--and browsed the usual bike shops including Cycles et Sports. Very interesting as usual but I didn’t pick anything up. I really don’t want to buy any more cycling outfits until I get in better shape. Then I sat down in front of the hotel with folks who had returned from Alpe d’Huez for some road stories.

Most of the group gathered for dinner at the usual time and we headed over to La Rive Gauche across the street. We were seated on the deck next to the little river and enjoyed our salads, pasta, pizzas and even a hamburger (Linda). She said it was good.

After some ice cream, that was the end of our day.

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Tot: 0.038s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0084s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb