Col du Petit St Bernard

Last day at Bike Village 😦 – but what a day it was! 🙂

The plan was to ride up to the Italian border at the Col du Petit St Bernard which had only just been opened after a winter covering of snow. Two of the girls decided to ride all the way from Landry with one of the guides, one girl decided to skip the climb entirely with a lift to the ski resort of La Rossiere, but the rest of us were happy to be driven up the same road we rode up on Day 2 to Saint-Germain and start our climb at about 1300m. We were riding up a valley which lies below the famous road climb favoured by roadies and which the Tour De France both climbed and descended in 2009.

Steady climbing

The climbing was very steady and quite enjoyable really, even though the day was hot and the sun strong. We settled into groups and chatted our way up the climb at a very steady pace.

More steady climbing

Just before the top there was a bit of excitement with a marmot appearance and a couple of snow fields to push across. Then we joined the road about 300m before the summit and made our way to the top with the roadies, a couple of open-top Ferraris and a bunch of other tourists.

Top!!!

Descending back towards France

We nipped over the border for a coffee in Italy and then headed back down the road section to just below where we’d joined the road in order to eat our second lunch and start our single track descent.

Singletrack

The descent just seemed to go on and on forever, with a bit of everything. There a was scary, exposed, technical rocky section at the top, then some nice forest singletrack. Then some undulations in the forest as we made our way round the shoulder into the next valley and even a little mini-climb. A village stop for water from the spring (one of the great things about riding in this area of France is these springs in almost every village), followed by riding alongside and between some fields and terraces. The part where the electric fences on either side narrowed leaving about a 1m gap for us to ride in added an extra shot of adrenaline to one traverse! And then finally crossing the Col du Petit St Bernard road repeatedly by cutting straight down through the forest between the switchbacks, and then riding along the riverbank back into Bourg St Maurice.

None of us realised until we got back how late it had got and what an epic day we’d had: Total Distance: 40km. Time: 8 hours. Ascent: 2715m, Descent: 3201m.

Au revoir Bike Village, it’s been a joy.

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Categories: mountain biking, mountains, outdoors | Leave a comment

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