Col de Aravis - 120km, 2600m of vertical
Leaving Annecy behind we headed over to the infamous col de
Aravis. On the way to the Aravis, we rode up the col de Forclaz,
before dropping off the back, down through the Gorge and to the
village of Montmin. Here we followed a very well paved cycle path
down the valley. It can be windy, but the views over to the high
alps in the background are spectacular.
At Ugine, we began climbing again. Although uncategorised and
seemingly un-named, this climb is a good test for the legs, as it
climbs over 500m, before a slight descent, and a sharp left at the
village of Flumet, where we started to climb the Col de Aravis
properly. A mostly steady climb of 8% over 11.5km, its hard, but
you are able to easily find your rhythm. The climb starts in the
village itself and is initially quite steep, averaging almost 6%
for the first kilometre and a half. It then flattens out
considerably through the forest, even descending for over a
kilometre, before the climb starts in earnest a little before the
village of La Giettaz.
From this point on there is little respite, the grade varying
between 5% and 8% most of the way to the summit, with a short
section at almost 12% and another much easier at 3.5%. The road
winds up between farms, chalets and orchards, with frequent hairpin
bends. The last kilometre is particularly impressive as the road
winds steeply back and forth up and over the lip of the pass before
finally flattening out towards the summit.
After a quick stop for a coffee at the top, we dropped down
about a dozen hair pins, before regaining the height we lost to
climb back up to the col de Foix.
From there it's a big descent back down to lake level and then a
20km undulating ride back to the Lake.