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Published: June 21st 2017
This entry by Tom.
Another day, another nice Kyriad hotel breakfast and temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun. On the news last night we found out that all this hot weather is blowing in from north Africa--so, the Sahara Desert.
I had planned to ride over the Col du Grand Colombier today in part to make the descent through the Lacets du Grand Colombier and shoot some video of that. Learned about this stretch of road from watching the TdF a year or two ago and it looked pretty cool. But after two days in a row of 6+ hours on the bike in 30°C+ temps, I re-vectored and departed Bellegarde-sur-Valserine with Caroline on a short-cut route that bypassed the cols of the Jura and instead crossed the Génissiat dam on the Rhone river on the way to Seyssel and the Val du Fier before joining the prescribed route from there to Annecy.
I shopped this short cut around at breakfast this morning and by the time we loaded our bags into the van, Luce informed us that ten of the others were going to take the same route. The remaining five were going up the
Jura to Col de la Biche or Col du Grand Colombier. Since I’d already been over those two cols on past trips I didn’t feel too bad about missing out this time around.
There were a few climbs and descents of about 200 m to get to the dam and beyond to Seyssel, but the temperatures were still in the mid-20’s by the time we got there at about 11:30am. We stopped at a little bar for some cold drinks, to refill our bottles, and eat the bananas that Caroline has been carrying around for a couple of days. Then it was on to Val du Fier.
There was a bit of maintenance of the valley walls in Val du Fier, which I’m beginning to think is a constant feature, but nothing that slowed us down in a real way. But we did feel the heat of the day starting up. We met up with Luce and Donna at Vallières and Caroline jumped in the van.
Luce and Donna had driven up to Col du Grand Colombier for the view and also to check on the folks who were riding up there today. They reported that there was a rock slide in the vicinity of Culoz, which was the prescribed descent from Grand Colombier through the lacets. So I suppose it’s a good thing I gave that a pass because I either would not have ridden the lacets or if I had, I’d have had to climb back up to follow an alternate descent.
I continued on to Annecy, including the little loop down to Château de Montrottier and Gorges du Fier, which looked pretty. Saw a TGV roll by on the short stretch of railway near the gorges but it wasn’t exactly moving at GV. Caught a few seconds of video of it with my GoPro.
Routine ride into Annecy to our hotel, the Campanile Centre Gare...which seemed familiar somehow. All the bags had been unloaded into the lobby and I was directed to take my bike to the basement down two flights of spiral stairs, which also seemed familiar. Caroline had checked in and I went up to our third-floor room, taking the stairs, which REALLY seemed familiar.
Caroline swears that this is the same hotel, just under a new name/brand, that we stayed at in 2011. I think she’s probably right and later on after I remembered the name from back then (Nouvel) and Googled it, yup, this is the same place.
After cleaning up and resting up for a bit in our relatively spacious corner room with a view, I headed out to check out the neighbourhood and find some drinks and snacks to take back to the room. A bottle of Orangina, a bag of potato chips and some Swiss dark chocolate later, I was back and working on the trip blog. I had no problem spending a bit of time indoors on a hot afternoon after spending nearly a week of hot afternoons outdoors on my bike.
Evening and it was time for ice cream...uh, I mean dinner. All we really wanted was some salads and a ridiculously Savoy-themed restaurant--even the servers were in costume--delivered. Caroline had hers topped with chicken and I went for one with local cheese.
Okay, now it’s time for ice cream. Annecy is the ice cream capital of France, maybe even the universe. It seems like every third shop sells ice cream. We wandered up to one that wasn’t busy and the girl behind the counter started handing out samples even before we could look at the selection. The raspberry was superb but the pink grapefruit was epic so that’s what I chose. Caroline had pistachio and Nutella in a cup.
Hard to top that so we strolled back to the hotel and that was the end of our day.
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