Before the Alpe d’Huez cycling season gets really going we thought we would have a couple of days away. We chose to go and stay in Guillestre and have a day of sight seeing and a day cycling over Col d’Izoard.
The last time we did Col d’Izoard was the 2006 Etape d’tour so I wanted to go back and see it properly rather than doing it through stressed sportive eyes!
We had a fun day just driving around, drinking coffee, taking in sights and trying to fly the kite! It was too windy and nearly took Alan with it!
Alan put together a 100k loop starting with Col d’Izoard and what a beautiful climb, better than I remember, in total it’s 31km but it doesn’t really start until after 16km. The first 16k are lovely about 2% up a gorge by a river – stunning! This does throw you into a false sense of security as at about 16k it really does kick, I now understand why people were walking so early in the Etape d’Tour! The ride zig zags through the woods with fantastic views back down the valley then about 3km from the top you get to the Casse Dessert, remarkable landscape just so different – barron. After about anoth k you get to the Coppi & Bobbet memorial a definate photo opportunity, we even had our photo’s taken by a French journalist for a tour d’France magazine! It was then to the top and plenty of snow. It was then the descent to Briancon, fantastic again much better than I remember, we had to stop a couple of times to watch Marmottes – so cute. From Briancon we took the coutry road back it was rolling except for a hard little climb just before the end to get your legs really burning about 5k ave 10%. Then it was the great descent all the way back to the tent! A great day, one I wouldn’t mind doing again.