Today was our first encounter with some serious mountains. The relatively flat terrain of the massif central (which seemed quite hilly when we cycled there) is nothing compared to the Alps. The route today was short (I was expecting 800 meters altitude gain and was realistic about the time that it’s going to take). We started out of Grenoble at 11am. The first 15-20km from the hotel were completely flat, which alarmed me to what can we expect later on. I knew that it’s 800 meters, however, I thought that the climb will start out of Grenoble and be somewhere around 3-4% in gradient.
The climb started at St. George de Commiers (2km short of that village), in blistering heat. It was a long, relentless slog up a very steep hill (6-10%) on D529 towards La Mure through some breathtaking scenery. The river Drac, or an artificial lake created on the river was somewhere 300 meters below us filled with turquoise waters. The mountains all around, the fresh wind and picturesque (although empty) villages all compensated for the hilly D529 that set out on a task to get us back to Grenoble 😉 When we passed around 600 meters mark, the air cooled down considerably.
We stopped by a water fountain and Notre-Dame Commiers which literally saved me from a meltdown. As soon as we stopped a stuck my head in the water, the feeling was so great! Dianna had a little dip in the cool water of the fountain as well. We stocked up on water and continued towards Le Mott.
After about 5km of the climb, I’ve offered to tie Dianna’s Chariot to my bike as it was too hard for Ann to push on. We continued in this setup until La Mure. Around 5km from La Mure there was a Col (unmarked but noticeable) at about 970 meters (we started from 230 meters in Grenoble). From there on it was a long downhill ride from the Col to our hotel.