Col de L’iseran


2770 metres with a loaded in 35 degree heat…….loved it.

My new favourite favourite climb, stunning views, snow
topped peaks and blue sky and it was jaw dropping. Their were many riders out on the slopes, and I found myself playing guess the nationality, looking for the common traits of the different cycling cultures. It was becoming normal to receive comments form riders as they passed, a great tonic to the laden tourer, but when one old chap pulled up along side and effortlessly started a conversation I was stunned.

Then the realisation that he was on an ebike. Not those bulky battery laden types, but a sleek pedal assist unit with a discreet looking Bosch power unit. Far from feeling cheated I thought it was a great idea, what a way for the masses to do the same as me and enjoy this great scenery.

I caught and passed a guy as we approached the summit and it was a great excuse to start up a conversation. After a few minutes of bad French, he then stated “why don’t we do this in English” a nationality fail for me then , but he had lived local for 20 years. Over Coke and Baguettees he explained that he ran many chalets here and this was the first possible climb up the Col as it only been open for two weeks. He also said that one operator had 50 of those ebikes and they were becoming very popular.

It was now descending time, the steep empty roads of the D902 to the valley of the river L’Arc at Bonneval-sur-arc were fantastic. Amazing rocky crevasses either side of a cracking ribbon of tarmac. It was now obvious that I was in a completely different region of France, much quieter wooded countryside flowing down the valley with the river. Come to think of it all the rivers were now flowing a different way, crossing the French divide.

The change brought a headwind not so good for progress, but welcome for the cooling, Arriving in Sollieres I had an idea to climb up To Lake Cenis and the col de Cenis but I was to tired to face that. Continuing down the valley would be a busy road as traffic joined over the col from Italy so I headed up into some quieter foothills on a parallel road. Soon i was regretting this, suffering more from the big afternoon heat it was time for a lie down in the shade and a new plan.

It was an easy choice, next campsite and out. By luck the next village of Ossosis looked perfect, shops bars and a perfect Municipal camp site at €7 bargain. There was nothing for it but a huge picnic, booze, a great view and a sleep on the airbed in the sun, heaven.
The site had a brand new multi floored building, free WiFi and comfy sofas and a chance to catch up with the world. Even the sounds of open air live band in town could not tempt me, I needed good legs for tomorrows Monster.
Toughest day so far, needed to flake out. Crazy hot camp


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