28 Jun 2013

Day 6: Thônes to.... Thônes

We left Thônes around 11am with the intention of visiting my snowboarding haunt Les Alps—in particular Chalet Les Sapins where I stayed a while back. As we were already behind schedule, Nice and Monaco were knocked off the list and we intended to head northeast towards Liechtenstein after passing through.

Alpine meadows near Le Lencieux.

Up and down mountain after mountain and it keeps chugging along...

Along the way, the first pass is Col des Aravis, an easy ride up (freshly resurfaced) and a bumpy ride down (patch on top of patch). I have been having a lot of trouble trying to capture the enormity of these mountains and passes, my lenses don't do them justice.

Col des Aravis.

Flossy enjoying life in Col des Aravis.

Halfway down, we stopped briefly in La Giettaz to use the public toilets which are next to the roadway with a convenient lay-by large enough for a couple motorbikes.

La Giettaz.

We carried on towards Bourg-Saint-Maurice on some seriously narrow backroads—after doing so many hairpin corners I have completely got over my anxiety about doing U-turns on a fully loaded bike, practice makes perfect and there is no room for errors on these roads.

Not your banker's Mercedes... near Le Manon.

The highlight of the journey was Cormet de Roselend—a high Alpine pass connecting Beaufort with Bourg-Saint-Maurice. This road is literally made for motorbiking—a well-surfaced ribbon of tarmac snaking its way through the mountains and around the north end of Lac de Roselend with its steely blue-green water.

The stunning Lac de Roselend—photos cannot communicate how enormous and open this pass is.

Nearly ready to carry on.

From Lac de Roselend to the summit and down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

Arriving in Bourg-Saint-Maurice we stopped for a snack in neighbouring Séez before heading up to Les Arcs.

A snack in Séez.

It was when we reached Arc 1800 where things went a bit pear-shaped... Trying to navigate the maze of roads (which are ski runs in the winter) is like trying to untangle a bowlful of overcooked spaghetti and we inevitably ended up on the wrong road at a dead end. I'm not sure what I did exactly but in the process of doing a 3-point turn on a slope I overbalanced the bike and it ended up on its left side with us on the floor next to it, rear wheel still happily spinning along in first gear.

One bruised wrist (Zev's) and a slightly scuffed plastic corner piece on the pannier later, we picked ourselves up and headed back down the hill toward Bourg-Saint-Maurice again.

I've come off my bike riding off road enough times and it has never shook me up but for some reason I experienced a significant loss of confidence for the next hour or so, running over in my head how I managed to tip us over in the first place. I was a bit surprised how something so minor put such a damper on the day.

Safely reaching Beaufort again we figured it was time for a drink and another bite to eat. We contemplated heading toward Chamonix but decided we were tired and it would take the same amount of time to go back to Thônes and have another delicious dinner at Hôtel du Commerce.

Having another snack in Beaufort.

One last stop before heading back to Thônes.

We reached the hotel, stuffed ourselves silly with some of the best food I've had and passed out asleep, ready to try again tomorrow.

Alps 2013 quick links

Day 1: London to Lille
Day 2: Lille to Hagondange
Day 3: Slow road to Ammerschwihr
Day 4: Ammerschwihr
Day 5: Ammerschwihr to Thônes
Day 6: Thônes to.... Thônes
Day 7: Thônes to Ruèras
Day 8: Ruèras to Flachau
Day 9: Flachau
Day 10: Flachau to Wemding
Day 11: Wemding to Urberach
Day 12: Urberach to Antwerp
Day 13: Antwerp to London

The gear and how it held up
The trip in hindsight