Last train to cold*

No no no, wrong way.

Winter’s turned up again in Chamonix, only this time she’s brought her luggage and it looks like she’s staying for a while.

Normally the easiest way to escape her clutches is to head down the road to Saleve, only a quick glance at the website showed they’ve closed until the end of March for works. Valley trails under our own steam it is.

Most technical part of the day, icy roads...

Down the valley and past Vaudagne the geography of the valley changes from the granite boulders and steep coniferous lined slopes around town to mellow slopes with deciduous trees and loamy ground, perfect for the icy conditions.

Before we could hit the loam, we had to contend with the road from town to Vaudagne. As they don’t really grit the roads here (stops the chain getting rusty I guess) the only time we got a break from the black ice on the road was when it was a sheet of inch thick actual ice. Somehow or other, Sandy & I both got there without hitting the tarmac.

Less tarmac, more traction

Once on the off road, traction improved considerably as long as you stuck to the band where meltwater flowing down the trail had removed the snow before freezing the ground. Sandy couldn’t believe his luck at getting to ride in such warm and easy conditions after spending most of his life MTBing in Aberdeenshire.

Just like Scotland. Sort of.

The last section of the trail dropped us down to Chatelard just outside Servoz (there’s only one trail on the map that drops you down to Chatelard, you can work out the rest from that) and it’s pretty good even by local standards, a natural bobsleigh run covered in a thick layer of leaves. Skids might not be big or clever but for once you’re not doing much harm, so why not….

Skids. Not just for kids.

Alas the camera succumbed to the cold at this point so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

As we sprachled over the path above the motorway, the next problem presented itself: the train went by en route to the Servoz station 500m up the road.

We were planning on catching the train to save us having to pedal back to Chamonix.

The path over the motorway is hewn from a cliff face and has a fixed rope to help you over.

We weren’t catching the train.

Life could be worse

Riding a bike up hill is bound to be good training for something, today it seemed to be good training for being hungry, cold and scared of ice, which pretty much sums up winter climbing for me so that’ll save me having to get the ice axes out the cupboard again. Every cloud has a silver lining etc.

Is this the last ride for the season? Probably not, but if it is chamonixbikeblog will be out of hibernation in the spring.

A balmy summers day ride, if you're from the north east.

* If you were into BMX in the early/mid ‘90’s then hopefully this is a hilariously witty play on a tee-shirt design, if not then you missed out on fully rigid bikes that weigh more than a DH rig, and my hilariously witty play on a tee-shirt design.