The "Choots" (aka the fake Chinese Moots) has S&S couplers (www.sandsmachine.com) and packs down into an airline-standard 26x26x10 suitcase
On the rental car bus in Lyon. No problems travelling with this bike!
A highly packable bike is tres convenient when you rent a little box like this. But don't scoff, this tiny diesel gets like 60mpg
Smooth roads lead from Grenoble up the side of a cliff and into the Chartreuse
Looking down at the Grenoble suburbs in the Isere valley. Our office is down in that tech office park (center left). The Belladone Alps rise on the other side of the valley.
The first of many scary dark tunnels I would ride through on this trip
Riding the Col du Coq below the imposting Dent du Crolles
Friday afternoon arrival in the cycling mecca of Bourg d'Oisans. View from Room 12, Hotel de Milan
This is cycling country. Check out this bike path.
Time for a quick ride up Alpe d'Huez. Right turn Clyde!
Lower switchbacks are very steep, but they get you up to the views very quickly.
Looking down from about halfway up. This is a big climb in a short distance.
Into the Huez village, but Alpe d'Huez is still way up there on the hillside. Several more km still to go.
getting closer. Switchback No. 5, named for the great American Andy Hampsten, who won here in the 1992 TdF
4km to go and still climbing...
Funky roudabout art 500m from the finish
At the top. Views are insane up here.
Since it doesn't get dark until 10pm, I had time to extend the loop out to the Col de Sarenne. A very narrow road with dubious asphalt, but rugged, remote and well worth the extra effort.
The last 500m to the Col. I was the only one out here. Very cool.
Col de Sarenne
Incredible switchbacking descent off the backside. After about 5km of bumpy roads, it opened up into a 20km smooth descent. One of the best ever.
Lac du Chambon, at the bottom of the descent. On the main road to the Col du Lautaret and at the base of the climb to Les Deux Alpes.
Setting up the Saturday morning market in Bourg d'Oisans
Beginning the climb up to the Col du Glandon from Allemond
After some steep climbing through the trees, the road narrows past Le Rivier de Allemond and pitches up even steeper
Switchbacks lead up to the top of the dam at Lac de Grand Maison.
Lac de Grand Maison
From the reservoir, one can see the remaining part of the road leading up to the Col du Glandon (low point on the left)
Nearly there. The building marks the turn off to the Col du Glandon (left) or the Col de Croix de Fer (right)
I turned left for the short climb up to the actual Col du Glandon.
A lone cyclist climbs up from the Maurienne Valley side of the Glandon. The Col de la Madeline (another TdF classic) comes over the mountains on the horizon. The Tour does both of these in a day usually. Ouch!
Descending back to the road junction, you can see the remaining few km up to the Col de la Croix de Fer
Col de la Croix de Fer (and its namesake Iron Cross)
Parasailing off the Col. The three spires at left are the impressive Aiguilles des Arves. Today's ride will go all the way around this massif.
Looking down into the steep gorge of the Torrent L'Arvan. The road to the Col de Mollard can be seen switchbacking up the cliff on the far side of the valley. I'll hit this next time.
Looking into the gorge.
St. Jean de Maurienne lies waaaaaay down below in the valley. This is another long ass descent.
After a slog up the valley, I stopped in Saint Michel de Maurienne for a massive carbo load before tackling the Col du Galibier
Climbing up the Col de Telegraph. This is a winding climb that mercifully stays shaded much of the initial part of the ride.
Hopes are dashed climbing out of St Martin d'Arc, as you see the Telegraphe up on the cliff thousands of feet above you. Yes, you have to climb up there, and that's not even the real climb yet! The Galibier still awaits...
You gain elevation very quickly around here. Looking back down to Saint Michel and the auto expressway into Italy. I was way down there just an hour ago.
Made it to the Col du Telegraphe. After seeing only one cyclist on the climb, suddenly there were scores of them here. Apparently I didn't get the memo that you're supposed to drive up here and ride the Galibier from this spot. Most people were finishing up, while I was just getting started with already 70 miles in on the day.
After the Col du Telegraphe, the road drops down to the little ski village of Valloire. From there, the road just starts climbing, climbing and climbing. Not a lot of photos were taken for 10km as I just stared at my top tube. But this is what it looked like mostly.
Plan Lachat. If it wasn't steep up to this point, buckle up!
Beginning the very steep part above Plan Lachat
On the switchbacks above Plan Lachat
Staring down the switchbacks. You can see the cars at Plan Lachat way down below.
Looking up the last 5km to the col. Very snowy up here still
Boonen wuz here.
The actual col is in sight. I'm thinking I may actually make it, though my legs are beginning to cramp uncontollably. I am suffering...
Looking back down the direction I just climbed up. Unreal how big this pass is.
Last few switchbacks before the tunnel
The last 100m to the col were still snowed under, so I had to ride through the short tunnel to the other side.
On the other side, looking down towards Briancon and the Col du Lautaret
The Eccrins Massif dominates. What a view up here!
A steep 500m descent deposits you at the Col du Lautaret, on the road connecting Briancon / Serre Chevalier to La Grave / Bourg d'Oisans
Descending the Lautaret towards La Grave
The next day. Started in cool town of Pont-en-Royans to ride in the Parc Vercours.
Riding into the limestone gorges of the Vercours
Is there anything better than a cheese baguette and a ride?
From the Col Gaudissart, a thousand mile view out over the Isere and Rhone valleys towards Lyon
The road leading into the Combe Laval is bored into the side of a cliff. See the tunnel?
Riding the Combe Laval
Coming back from the Col de la Machine
Insanity. This road has no business being here!
Looking up into the Combe Laval. The road I was on hugs the cliff towering above the right side of the valley
The Petits Goulets (the "little bottleneck"). Lots of tunnels to get through here.
Climbing up to the Grand Goulets
Canyon walls are closing in as I get higher up the valley
End of the line, as I don't have the appetite for a 1.7km tunnel, plus I have to catch a train to Paris
The old tunnels through the Grand Goulets
Job done. No more climbing. Just a long descent back to the car.
Back in Pont-en-Royans for a dip in the water