Annecy to Cluses - Poking Around Europe 6.0 - CycleBlaze

June 7, 2019

Annecy to Cluses

Col de la Colombière

We loved staying in the Hotel du Chateau. The room was tiny but lovely, the setting couldn’t have been better and there was a puppy. Perfect. 

The roses were astonishing.
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We loved it. When we were leaving the museum after our first visit to Annecy we walked right by - it is right next door to the Chateau. I told Keith next time we were in Annecy I wanted to stay here. I am feeling pretty lucky we did.
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The bike garage.
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The lobby.
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What an amazing and wonderful day we have had. One that we will always remember. Brilliant weather, brilliant tour guide, amazing scenery, a fantastic climb and just so much fun. 

We started the day with breakfast of course and fuelled up for the climbing ahead. The goal today was Col de la Colombière, which has been featured in the Tour de France 22 times, most recently last year.  Last night at dinner Pierre not only encouraged us to do it as he said it was a beautiful ride (was he ever right) but he offered to come with us. Game on!

Annecy we loved you. We will be back.
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Looking down the lake. This would be the last flat riding of the day. After that it was either up or down.
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Incredible infrastructure for bikes.
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We have begun the climb. Looking back at the Chateau.
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We met Pierre at the side of the road, just before the Col de Bluffy. It wasn’t that much of an accomplishment but the TdF has done that too so we recorded the moment. There was another beautiful Chateau here as well. It was all so amazing. I just smiled all day. Every view was fantastic. 

Pierre and I chatting while Keith gets the picture.
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Chateau de Menthon. Pretty impressive.
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Jacquie GaudetThat rounded ridge is pretty impressive too!
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2 years ago

All three of us had a good laugh on the next section. We were coming into Thônes when Keith suddenly veered into a building supply parking lot. We were looking for a baguette and he saw the sign for banquettes. All three of us were in stitches. Pierre led us to a great bakery. 

This was followed not too much further up the road with Keith saying to Pierre  “Why don’t you lead?” and Pierre said “No, I’m going to the top.”  He had heard “Why don’t you leave.”  Honestly it makes me laugh to think of it. We were so absolutely thrilled to have Pierre along. 

Next he showed us the national memorial at Site de Morette. It is a very moving experience. Pierre explained that it wasn’t just young French soldiers who were killed but Spaniards, Italians and Poles. We walked up and down the rows of graves and it makes me want to weep. Most of these young men were in their twenties. 

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There are no words. It was very moving.
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Then it was up through absolutely spectacular scenery to Le Grand Bornand. What a spectacular spot. We stopped for lunch there and we just loved it. Everything today was just so amazing. It is at Le Grand Bornand that the climb officially starts. There are three approaches to the Col de Colombière.  This one was the most friendly for fully loaded touring bikes. Pierre made it a workout by grinding up in his large chain ring. Sheesh. I rarely got out of granny gear. 

Pierre kindly answered every curious question I had, and I had lots of them. All the things I have wondered about as I pass signs I don’t understand, or see things that make me curious, he filled me in. He was very patient.
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The scenery was jaw dropping. I was smiling the whole way.
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Coming into Le Grand Bornand.
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What a view while eating lunch.
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Up we went. Such a great ride. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am going to throw some pictures at you. 

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Then, almost too soon, we were at the top. It was an awesome experience, made so much better by having such wonderful company. We told Pierre his speed to the top was going to ruin his statistics for the month, but he told us he would just discard it. Good idea. 

Such a great experience.
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Post ride recovery beverage.
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We didn’t want to say goodbye.
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Down we went in opposite directions. The descent to Cluses was so much fun after the slightly terrifying (for me) beginning when it was steep with nothing between me and the abyss. I took it easy at that point. 

Down we go! There was guard rail here but that disappeared all too quickly. It was a great descent though. It didn’t resemble a Tour descent...no crouching on the top tube for us...but we had a hoot none the less.
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Our arrival in Cluses was straightforward as once more the Chief Navigator took us unerringly to the hotel, the Hotel National, which we really like. We have had dinner and wine and toasted an amazing day. Thank you again Pierre!

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https://www.relive.cc/view/2431116207

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 1,984 km (1,232 miles)

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Scott AndersonWhat a great ride, and what an experience to have a guided tour. And thanks for the reminder - this was one of our favorite passes, going the other way - but the descent terrified us. And look at all the snow on those peaks!
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2 years ago
Keith ClassenIt was a perfect day... fabulous weather, scenery and a great guide.
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2 years ago
Helen StarkSuch amazing pictures! I love this entry. You must be so fit by now.
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2 years ago
David MathersYou guys have officially become Col baggers...that’s a compliment 👍Well done ✅ looking forward to watching the TDF too.
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2 years ago
Keith ClassenTo David MathersThanks David - we had hoped to do a few good climbs this trip. But hard to match you guys and that infamous Portland couple.
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2 years ago