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  • Zdjęcie autoraKrystian

Around Mount Blanc Cycling Trip

Zaktualizowano: 4 wrz 2023

First of all, I would like to thank my friend Michael for taking me with him on such an amazing trip, which started my fascination with mountain biking in the Alps and bicycle travel in general in various places around the world.

We started our journey with a flight to Turin, Italy, where we had our main base and overnight stay. The great adventure started already at the airport as the cab drivers were on strike that day :) As a result, we were forced to walk from the airport to our hotel. After a 5 km walk with our Thule bike boxes, it felt like my arms got 0.5 m longer. As we walked past a gas station, I noticed that the bus driver had stopped to refuel. Without hesitation, we decided to ask him if he would drop us off at the hotel, which was 5 km away. Without a hitch he agreed. Of course, during the drive he asked us about the purpose of our stay in Torino 🙂

Torino Day 1 - 95 km

We started our first day in Turin with a trip towards Lago di Teleccio at 1900 meters above sea level. At first the trip was fascinating. The first day, admiration of a new place, beautiful views and only cycling in my mind :) Unfortunately, taking a backpack with me was not a very good idea, it was terribly hard to ride uphill with such a load. So I decided to abort the climb and wait for Michal, who covered the route alone to the end. I, meanwhile, enjoyed an Italian espresso :) When Michal returned exhausted and chilled together we had dinner and returned to our hotel. The way back was already more pleasant or "downhill". On that day I did 95 km on the bike, elevation 700 m.a.s.l.

Torino Day 2 - 68 km

We used the second day for a tour of Torino which included a visit to the old town, the Fiat factory, Juventus Turin Allianz Arena Stadium and many other local tourist attractions like museums and monuments. It was a nice break from the mountainous areas especially before what awaited me in the following days :) On this day we covered 68 km in the urban hustle and bustle.

Torino - La Thule (ITA) - 172 km, Day 3

On day 3 we went on a journey around Mount Blanc. Oh it's going to happen I thought to myself as we set out on the route. The whole trip took several hours, cycling alone about 9 h. Visiting the Aosta Valley by bicycle was an amazing experience, but at the same time very demanding. It brought back my childhood memories when I traversed the area with my parents going by car on vacation to the Côte d'Azur in southern France. Beautiful mountain vistas, numerous mountain waterfalls, ancient castles, unusual terrain. Throughout the route, we took several solid breaks to recuperate, feed ourselves and be able to drive on. As we began to approach our destination, Mount Blanc appeared on the horizon. Having reached Pre-Saint-Didier (ITA) after 160 km, I was sure that the worst was behind me as our destination was only 10/12 km away :) Unfortunately, it turned out that we still had to climb 800 m up to the village of La Thuile, where our accommodation was, as it turned out, the cheapest in the area. I wonder if you know why? We arrived at the hotel around 11 pm at night, we rode 172 km that day and it was my longest distance to date that I have covered on a road bike in the Alps. We climbed to 1851 m.a.s.l.

La Thuile - Val Cenis, 108 km, Day 4

After waking up, we had a solid alpine breakfast. The views were superb, the atmosphere of the place like in Switzerland, with the Matterhorn on one side and Mount Blanc on the other. We hit the road in the direction of France. We drove towards the French alpine village of La Rosiere where we encountered a pink road against the backdrop of the French alps. The entire route was very tough. French roads are steeper and more challenging compared to Italian roads. I had many crises along the way, riding for several hours in the sun climbing French peaks. Thank goodness there were jellies then, which strongly supported me in moments of crisis. The sugar caused a significant increase in energy and almost saved my life :) During this route we covered many unusual French alpine towns such as Val Cenis, Val'disere, Tignes. By the time we climbed to the altitude of the latter village I was totally exhausted, with a climb to the Col de l'iseran at 2,997 meters above sea level ahead of us. A quick recharge at the SPAR chain store and on our way. After several hours of climbing the 3,000-foot mountain twice, we found ourselves on the highest paved road in Europe as dusk fell. For the first time I felt what it means to exhaust the body combined with very low temps. At that time on the Col d'liseran it was 5 degrees, zero visibility, with remnants of snow everywhere. Michael and I took a quick photo and hit the road. We had a 1.5-hour descent to the hotel from 2,997 meters above sea level at night. We got there around midnight at a staggering speed to check in at the reception before the hotel closed :) It was a French 4-star property for a not inconsiderable price in the charming French town of Val-Cenis. As every day and this time a quick laundry the next day and to bed. On this day we covered 108 km. It was one of my most difficult days on this trip. We rode the routes of the Tour De France.

Val-Cenis - Torino, Day 5, 112 km

This was the last day of our trip around Mount Blanc. To begin with, we had to climb almost 3,000 meters above sea level to cross the Italian-French border at the pass. There was a lot of elevation gain, overlooked views. At the border we stopped for a while to have lunch, to recuperate. At the very top, however, there was such a wind that it was hard to cycle. We crossed the French-Italian border and headed toward Turin. On the way we encountered the beautiful Mont Cenis Lake at 2,800 m. The route towards Turin was very pleasant as we had to descend from 3,000 m to 500 m. Along the way we tiredly took many recovery breaks until we finally arrived at our hotel in Turin.

For me it was an overrated experience, a huge struggle with my weaknesses. When we sum up the altitudes on this route, they were almost 8,000 meters above sea level, the height of Mount Evenerest. In the end, my legs were like concrete. Despite all the difficulties, in the end I was overjoyed and looking forward to more trips :)


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