Annecy Alpine Adventure – Day Two, Talloires.
After yesterday’s epic day in the saddle, I was unsure how the arm would feel today & with thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon, it made sense to plan something shorter & give my body a chance to adjust to consecutive days cycling in the mountains. We were greeted to a blue, cloudless sky & the temperature was already 75 degrees at 9.15am, so we were in for another scorching ride so long as we could beat the weather!
Today’s route started off mirroring yesterday for the first 7 miles, as we hugged the shore of Lake Annecy for 4 miles, before connecting with the Annecy to Albertville cycle track. Once again, we had the path pretty much to ourselves as we skirted the edges of small villages, passed golden fields of freshly harvested wheat & cut between small lakes where ducks were being fed by the locals.
The first 17 miles were covered in just over 70 minutes, with next to no feet climbed – effectively the majority of the day’s climbing was crammed into the next 11 miles (which also included a short descent). We exited the cycle path just outside Albertville & the road started climbing immediately, as sweeping switchbacks kept us pointing skywards. Although the climb of Col du Vorger was ‘only’ just over 2 ½ miles in length, the gradient didn’t drop below 9% (Sean was laughing as he pointed out the 13% stretch!), so we’d climbed 1,100 feet by the time we hit the Col. The oddity was that although we were at the summit, we were still surrounded on all sides by towering mountains of volcanic rock.
After a brief stop for a photo & to let the legs & lungs recover, we continued following the narrow single lane road & descended through meadows & farmland for 3 miles, before arriving at the start of the climb up to Collet de Tamie (not to be confused with Col de Tamie, which we’d descend to later!). The stats tell me it was a 5 mile climb with 1,600 feet of climbing, however it was much tougher than that, as the first mile only rose about 150 feet, meaning the remaining 4 miles was at a leg sapping (for me at least) 8%. The saving grace was we were protected from the relentless sun, the temperature again topping 100 degrees at its hottest.
We stopped for a quick photo opportunity at the summit of Collet de Tamie before taking an immediate left turn to visit Fort de Tamie (our coffee stop yesterday) where, today we stopped for lunch. We relaxed in the shade over a panini, lemonade & ice cream, before retracing the first 16 miles of yesterday’s ride, with a slight detour for a photo op at the Abbaye de Tamie. This was my favourite descent so far, as the gradient was relatively gentle as the smooth tarmac swept us towards Faverges, where we connected again with the cycle track towards Talloires.
We made a brief stop at Doussard, where we watched a group of parapenters who had launched themselves off the cliffs some 2,000 feet above us coming in to make the most delicate of landings in a field close by. We then followed Lake Annecy’s shoreline, admiring the stunning alpine blue of the water against the dark blue of the sky above. The threatened thunderstorms didn’t ever arrive today (although they are forecast for later in the week), so we made the most of the early finish & the stunning weather, to spend an hour or so by the pool, working on the tan.
I feel I should apologise for one of the photos, as I look like a badly stuffed sausage, but this is what happens when you continue to eat like a cyclist, when not training like one!