Monday, 31 March 2014

Alpe d'Huez 'balcony', a Sunday morning spin

Balcony road from Armentier
On Sunday morning, despite loosing an hour, I was up and out, bike prepped and rolling down the hill at 9am.

Once in the valley I headed towards the foot of Alpe d'Huez and rode the first 6 switchbacks to bend 16, here I took a right at the 'Restaurant La Sarenne'. This takes you on to a traverse that follows the Romanche valley via what we call a 'balcony' road. Of course, to access a balcony (unless you have the luxury of a lift), you usually have to climb some stairs!!   
Looking back towards Armentier

Maybe 'balcony' is a bit of a misnomer since the road climbs gently for a good way. The rewards are worth the climbing though. The road and Romanche river ribbon along the valley below and the cars look like Matchbox toys. Not a view welcomed by the vertigo sufferer, but it gives you a great sense of achievement and a real scale of the amount of climbing behind you.

Looking towards the Veneon Valley
The morning was slightly overcast but being south facing, any rays that did break through were very warming. Signs of the warmth and aspect were all around; an abundance of spring flowers, lizards basking on the road and the occasional butterfly. 

The descent is very enjoyable, a few technical bends as you approach La Freney and then plain sailing after joining the main road (D1091) that sweeps down from Briancon/the Galibier to Bourg d'Oisans.

A great start to the day and a marvellous excuse to have a big chocolate croissant once back in the valley!

'Bike Oisans' bike route including .gpx file


No comments:

Post a Comment