Friday, August 07, 2009

Col du Petit Saint Bernard

Just got back from an amazing ride to the Col du Petit Saint Bernard with Sam.

Came out of his house and immediately banged a right up the side of a mountain. Pretty steep without a warm up but not too bad with the compact gears.

Even managed a little chit chat as we made our way up the gradient through gorgeous picturesque villages and Hamlets.

The weather was beautiful, sunshine, barely a cloud in the sky and a gentle tail wind.

Eventually we came to the main road from Bourg Ste Maurice to Italia. The gradient was less extreme now and we got into a great rhythm blowing past scores of riders making their way to the summit.

Through a ski resort and above the tree line we climbed. The views were majestic. Sam's village looked like a tiny mosaic in the valley below many hundreds of metres below us.

The landscape became more baron and the views more magnificent...AND THEN around the side of a mountain appeared Mont Blanc in the distance with its snow covered crown...AWESOME.

I've never been to the Alps before so this is all kind of mythical and legendary to me but yet I was actually riding the road that the Tour de France had descended just a few weeks ago.

We crested the Col and crossed into Italia. The sun was beating down, the wind was fresh and crisp and I was in true Nirvana.

We had a real Italian cappuccino and then headed back for the much anticipated descent. 94.7kph was showing on the bike computer for Max Speed. I don't recall it feeling that fast but the long sweeping curves on the descent certainly made for a fun and very fast ride.

Having said that, the side of the road was totally unprotected and the vertical drops ranged from 10m to hundreds of metres - scary stuff.

Sam reckons the descent is usually about 40mins but this time we made it in 30 - BIG FUN.

All in all the ride time was about 2.30. Which was two and a half hours of pure joy. Elixir for the soul.

1 comment:

klingklangman said...

i was up there a few weeks ago for the tour and rode up the iseran and cormet de roseland the following days. as you rightly say, its a stunning place and a Mecca for any real roadie. i'll be back.