Le Tour: Part 5 Col du Sarenne

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This ride starts with an ascent up Alpe d'Huez yet again, I'm reminded again that the last 16 hairpins are not so bad and that it's worth it for the views anyway.  Once I got to the top I continued on down past the airport and down the Col du Sarenne, I rode down this way a few days ago which I wrote about in Part 2 however I turned off at the bottom of the valley and went off road and cycled via a mountain pass near Auris.  This time I did the route that the Tour de France riders did last week.  In the media there were complaints from the riders that the descent down Col du Sarenne was dangerous because of the poor surface, and I can see why.

The ascent up Alpe d'Huez wasn't so bad, I knew what to expect.  As soon as I got to the top, part of me felt like just descending back down, returning early and going for a swim.  I started heading down a bit, then I just though... screw it.  So I went with the original plan to ascend Col du Sarenne.

The climb up Col du Sarenne was only rated at a category 2 climb on the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Tour,  and it isn't particularly long, however it is all mostly in one continuous run instead of in hairpins which means you get no respite.  However with all the mountain passes you get a great view right at the top.

The descent looked great from above looking down the valley like in the picture at the beginning of this post.  The first few K's were very rough, even on 28mm tyres.  The whole road was a patchwork of repairs and potholes, my front tyre was bouncing all around the place trying to stay in contact.  Add to this many tight hairpins and a narrow road which meant heavy braking, this lead to my hands getting fatigued pretty quickly.

Luckily after a few km's I reached the village of Le Perron, the road got a lot smoother and wider, now there was enough space for two cars to pass each other.  This was just starting to get beautiful, the curves of the road were nicely banked, wide and smooth.  This continued on for a while, the road just got faster and faster, I ran out of gears at my top (48 x 13) gear which I guess means I was probably going 60-70km/h down the hills.  Again, during the ride I noticed that the contact point of the brakes had moved meaning that I'd worn down the pads a little bit more.

The descent continued down into the town of Mizo├źn right near the Lac du Chambon where there is a large dams.  It's a shame the dam was a bit empty and under a bit of construction, nonetheless the view down the river was nice.

Past the dam there was some riding through the valley, along the sides of mountains and again through some mountain tunnels, thankfully these ones were lit.

There was another descent and I passed a smaller dam on the way, from here I hit a major road at the base of the mountains which lead all the way back home.

Well, that's it for my riding in the Alps for this year.  It's always been on my to-do list for a long time, my legs can sure feel it.  In fact riding to work during the week, my knee felt a bit sore.  I might be back in the Alps again later in the year though, however probably for skiing.  Thanks for reading.


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