JH and Arno at the Col du Glandon
Cormet de Roseland

Pretty cols but the clearest of the clear days are gone now as the summer haze builds up, which will eventually lead to summer thunderstorms. First out of Bourg-Saint-Maurice to the Cormet de Roseland (1967 m.), one of my favourite col routes. It's a satisfying mix of a challenging and varied road plus massive scenery. There are good views of Mont Blanc (4808 m.) if you know where to stop.

I turned off the Route des Grandes Alpes to met up with Arno (out from Annecy on a day trip) at a petrol station in Albertville, the town which hosted the winter Olympics. We rode up to the Col de la Madeleine (1993 m.) together, another fantastically pretty route but now riding back south. It links the Tarantaise and Maurienne valleys so at the col you get views of Mont Blanc one way and the Ecrins the other way to the south. So a fine place for bikers to stop and chat. The chalet did a Salade Savoyade - Beaufort cheese and ham with walnuts - for me (as I'd just ridden through the Beaufortain, the Savoie valley from where the Beaufort cheese comes; meanwhile Arno enjoyed an Assiette véloiste - pasta with a fondue sauce and also some ham.

Mont Blanc from the Cormet de Roseland
Col de la Madeleine with Arno

Down the southern road of the Madeleine, not in good condition. The air temperature at the valley floor showed 36'C so we didn't hang around. Up the road to the Col du Glandon. Minor mayhem at the col with bikers and véloists jostling for position for photos. Just as a polite turn-taking sequence got established then another group turns up and busts the system.

Last coffee together, Arno rode on to the Col de la Croix fer (2067 m.) and back to the Maurienne while I rode down in to Bourg Oisans, then up to here at La Grave. Interesting riding with him on my new bike. He's riding a GSX750 so a similar sportsbike and he's also an experienced rider of Alpine cols. I have the impression that with my new bike we're riding more similarly, previously he could always out ride me.

Highest altitude hotel so far (1520 m.) and the most peaceful, the trunk road outside is currently cut in two because a tunnel is closed. So all the route planners and signs show it as not a through route. Except that there's an emergency route which is open. It turned out to be single lane with traffic lights and very bumpy, seemingly liable to slide down the mountainside in to the big Lac du Chambon, behind a high dam.