Posts Tagged With: chorges

Day 23 – Chorges to Le Lauzet-Ubaye, 38km – 781km total

After a day of rest (which turned out, again, to be rather pointless) we departed the strange French club resort in Chorges for the Ubaye valley. Today we had to climb 2 passes, first – Col Lebraut, 1120m second, unnamed pass near St. Laurent. The first climb began straight out of the hotel’s door, from 840 to 1120 meters. It took us about 45 minutes to get up the pass. It’s quite hot now in the alps, get’s up to 31C in the day time. We wanted to start early, but ended up leaving at 10am.

A fast descent brought us to the shores of the Serre-Poncon lake. One of the largest man-made lakes in Europe was created by installing a dam into the mouth of the Dorance and Ubaye rivers to protect Gap valley for devastating floods. The lake fits perfectly into the mountainous terrain of the area. However, since the valley is flooded, the roads around the lake are quite hilly (not following the valley floor, but jumping over the ridges that go down to what used to be the valley). We descended through a short tunnel past the dam to around 600 meters and started out second climb of the day.

The South side of Serre-Concon lake belongs to department of Alpes du Haute-Provance, we are getting closer to the coast! The second climb was long, not too steep, but in the heat it really wore me out. Even above 1000 meters it was still very very hot. Dianna’s Chariot was heating up as well and that started bothering her. At one point I forgot to take it off the parking brake and cycled around 1km up a 6% hill with that on. About 2 hours later we were at the top of the climb, at 1120 meters enjoying a marvelous view of the Serre-Poncon lake and the Ubaye valley.

I was totally worn out. 850 meters of climbing is probably the limit for me with Dianna tied to my bike and the luggage on the racks. At one point I thought maybe I should start walking up 😉 A quick descent brought us to Le Lauzet and the lake. The hotel we are staying at is right on the lake. We went for a swim right away! The water is about 20C, very fresh after the ride we had today. Dianna went into the water as well 😉

Tomorrow we will head for Barcelonette, a large town at the end of the Ubaye valley. From there we will start ascent of the Col de Coyolle.

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Day 21 – Corps to Chorges, 48km – 743km total

We headed out of Corps at around 10:30am on the N85. Lot’s of traffic and after a short descent we were climbing again. Shortly after Corps we crossed the boundary of Region Provance Cote’d Azur, departament Haute-Alpes (high alps, no s**t!!!!). Still quite a way from Cote’d Azur, but still, made the climbing feel a bit more rewarding 🙂 We were heading towards Col Bayard or Col de Mense. I was going to ask locals about which of the two is more cycle friendly.

Shortly after the sign, we turned right onto a side road running parallel to the N85 through L’Gaizile (D57L). Beautiful road running along the Drac torrent. Climbing very gently towards L’Gaizile to around 950 meters and than descending sharply back towards N85. Back on the N85 started to look for a pique-nique spot, raced with a Belgian caravan towards an empty table (we won). We ended up having lunch together at the same table. Dianna sat in the Ortlieb rack pack and loved it!

Locals at the Bar/Tabac advised to go for Col De Mense and they were right. The road towards the Col (D14) was quiet and not to badly inclined (Col Bayard promised 12%). It was still a slog, up to 9% for around 4km. Finally arrived at Col at around 4pm and stopped at the nearby Refuge Napoleon for drinks. There I realized that it doesn’t make sense to do a sharp descent into Gap when we could do a gradual descent into Chorges – the town we are going tomorrow, and shave of 20km of the busy N94. Brilliant idea it turned out to be, N94 is horrible. The route was 17km longer than expected, however, at least 13km were downhill.

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