Dawn Patrol in the French Alps
We arrived at the French pass as the sun was soon to go down. It had been showering heavily and spastically as it tends to do in the mountains. We setup camp quickly, though with no grass and soft ground around that wasn’t on a slope we decided to use rocks as tent pegs instead, and because “someone” was too scared of making an old ruin a shelter for the night.
All over Europe there are superb views of long back and forth twisty roads. As much fun as they look unless there is enough variation and speed to make it interesting, I’d rather go elsewhere. The French Alps offer an unthinkable amount of high elevation paved roads, entertaining half hour plus high speed runs with unique terrain and series of hairpins to challenge oneself and provoke the most auspicious smile. Not only the roads are of interest, but the food, turret tunnels and settlement reminisces from the war, rock climbing, and of course the most sheep I’ve ever witnessed will awake the adventurer in you.
From the highest paved road in Europe skaters have descended for many years. Thanks to the Tour de France for the stellar pavement quality. The pass provides two distinctly different sides (to the north & the south) to ride. One extremely long (45 minutes) and technically challenging with high speed sections and multiple series of hairpins. This side offers much opportunity to ride in different styles and will please everyone, and ruin your legs!
The other side is wide open and very visible to traffic. Not as steep out of the hairpins, hence why the video is sped up in a few sections. It is a shorter ride, yet still at a length of seven minutes it offers long fast straights and sweepers into small hairpins. There is actually more to the road above and below, though this is the best section. The way to ride this type of road is working towards ‘perfection of line’ and to make the most minimal slides for max speed into and out of corners. Using the whole road, from edge to edge is just the way I like it!
Tamara & I took time after our dawn patrol runs to photograph the old ruins of a World War 2 II settlement. The buildings were placed very systematically with straight lines allowing to see across the settlement through windows and doors.
Was unique to see so much growing inside the buildings. Made for an exciting juxtaposition between an old man-made structure, the organic life growing inside and the light shining through uncovered windows and roofs.