Col de Leschaux Loop

Annecy Alpine Adventure – Day Five, Talloires.

Today was all about trying to get my wheel bearings fixed, which meant that straight after breakfast I had an appointment with Mr Google to investigate my options – head to Annecy (nearer, but smaller) or Albertville (further to travel, but bigger). I made the decision to start locally, then travel further afield if necessary, so we were in the car & on our way to Annecy by 9.40am.

Town was crazy, as the Etape du Tour is on this Sunday & it goes from Annecy to Grand Bornard. There was an enormous trade exhibition on the lakeside & there were cyclist types everywhere! The first place was very sympathetic & while not able to fix the bearings, they were able to give me a couple of useful phrases for what was wrong & they sent me to one of their competitors, who he was hopeful could help me.

In the next bike shop they had little English & I had little French – how grateful I was for my phrases from my new friends at Roule et Poul. However, in spite of their best efforts, they couldn’t sort me out either. Again, they gave me the name of another competitor who would be my best chance of success in Annecy – I was so impressed by MTB’s attempts to help me too, even though on this occasion they couldn’t resolve the issue.

A 20 minute walk later & I arrived at Cran Cycles on Avenue de Cran. This place was a cycling geeks Nirvana with framed & signed cycling jerseys from Arnaud Demare & Jerome Coppel, French cycling heroes both. I felt my luck may be about to improve! After 30 minutes of looking through box after box of wheels parts, unlike Bono, he did find what he was looking for!!! My new best friend worked through his lunch break to put the bearings & wheel back together & after handing over €46 my bike was back in business.

I left the bike shop at 12.45 & by 2pm we were on our bikes & heading out for what felt like a bonus cycle ride – as time was short, I drew up a 35 mile route to ensure we were back at a reasonable time. We set off around the lake towards the Annecy cycle path at Doussard. From there we followed the path towards Annecy for 10 miles until we reached Sevrier at the foot of the Col de Leschaux. This is a 7.5 mile climb that rises at a steady 4% the whole way, so gave me my first chance to ride full gas & see how my legs would react – even if I’d got the pacing wrong, I would still have been able to pootle up to the summit!

After a quick photo at the summit, we stopped for coffee, apple pie & ice cream – the perfect recovery food after my efforts up the mountain! The descent on the opposite side of the valley is steeper & technical with a couple of great overlooks to the lake below & in less than 15 minutes, we’d reached St Jorioz & were back among the cars again. Two separate cars pulled out of side turnings without even stopping to see if anything was coming – in both instances I had to take evasive action before stopping to teach the drivers a few ancient anglo-saxon phrases!

From St Jorioz, it was a case of finding our way back to the cycle path & retracing our route back to Talloires. Considering I didn’t have a bike that I could ride this morning, this has undoubtedly been a successful day on & off the bike!

Tomorrow I say goodbye to Hotel Les Grillons, it’s been the most amazing base in idyllic surroundings. & the food has been out of this world. Nothing was too much trouble for Aurelie & Sebastien, who welcomed us into their home. I will definitely be returning to this oasis on Lake Annecy. The adventure isn’t over, however, as we head on to St Jean de Maurienne – a permanent fixture on the Tour de France itinerary.

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