The organised Skedaddle itinerary for today was to “to give you the experience of a multi-cols day in a TdF mountain stage”, taking in Colombiere (Cat 1), Aravis (Cat 2) and Les Saisies (Cat 1). The last of these was optional, but even without it there was a fierce third climb to the hotel.
Not even a consideration on the Greenspeed trike. Not only would we be physically done in we would be nowhere near the finish in daylight.
Colombiere would be enough for us thank you very much. So we took the car to La Reposoir, climbed Colombiere, then descended back again to collect the car and drive to Aravis to meet the others for lunch and then drive on to the hotel. We were really glad we had not done the third climb, it had a wickedly steep start (1st gear in the car) giving out to melted tar and loose gravel, then a section of “trous en formation” where the road was broken up and would be really bad to cycle over on the trike, and finally a stretch where the road had been totally ripped out prior to being relaid.
Back to Colombiere: We had been warned that the final 3km were 13%. No worse than the climb to Hardy’s monument on the Coastlet, but a heck of a lot longer. So we took it very steady with pauses and drinks climbing through trees until breaking out above the tree line into rocky terrain.
We had also saved our ‘secret weapon’ hub gear as a final low gear, but were very pleasantly surprised to find in fact that the final 3km was at an average of 10% with some 13% sections, but not continuously 13%. Of course if we had not been expecting worse this would have seemed super tough in itself!!
Final bottom gear saved for another day.
As always, loads of sunshine and fantastic mountain scenery, including from Aravis a stunning view of the Mont Blanc massif including Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc summit itself coming in and out of cloud cover at its top.