In our build-up for Le Tour du Mont Blanc following the cyclosportive at La Bourgogne, Macon, it was time to race in the Alps and test our training for the big event of the year – Le Tour Du Mont Blanc.
The Grand Trophee race, the Morzine Haut Chablais Cyclosportive, 155 kms and 4100+ m of climbing was our choice on 18th June, 2017.
We picked a hot day with temperatures ranged from 15C at the start to 35C along the valley from Taninges to the bottom of Joux Plan, an HC climb after 130 kms. Fabulous scenery with some amazing views. My favourite was the view from above La Forclaz down into an amazingly steep-sided valley.
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600+ riders took part in this amazing race in the Alps. Starting at Morzine the route took us up Col du Joux Verte (the third time I’d been up this climb in as many days) before descending back into Morzine. Then north to climb Col de Corbier and descend via switchbacks into another stunning valley and two more cols, Col du Grand Taillet and Montee du Vernaz. On to the Jambaz, one of easiest cols with a smooth wide road and gentle gradients. Now heading to Mieussy and the lower slopes of Ramaz before descending into the valley and through Taninges.
It’s odd how gradients that had previously been noticeable to the legs were now becoming familiar and no longer a distraction especially as I considered what lay ahead between me and the finish.
Le Joux Plan
By now the heat had built to 30+C as we faced the final col of this cyclosportive – Le Joux Plan. Feared by many, Joux Plan is billed as the hardest HC climb in the Alps with gradients never less than 7% and usually averaging 9-10% along much of its 11 kms. The statistics are not fearsome but there’s something about this climb that eats away at you requiring a particular mental strength to overcome. Plus, we were attacking this beast from Les Villards via ramps of around 15+% – not the best of introductions with 130 kms already under the wheels!
Next was the short climb to the Col du Ranfolly before descending via switchbacks, avoiding the cows on the road and entering Morzine and heading towards the final 3kms climb with little in the legs to the finish at Lac du Montrinond.
A fantastic day for everyone!
If you are considering a continental cyclosportive in 2018 and enjoy a significant challenge without a huge entry, I can recommend the Morzine Haut Chablais Cyclosportive – more at http://grandtrophee.fr/epreuve.php?C=167
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