Grenoble Getaway: Vercors and Chamrousse

The mercury has suddenly shot up down here in Le Sud and I wanted to do something other than hide away in my living room this week. As I was pondering what to do with myself, I remembered this post from late last year, and got to looking at which hors catégorie climb I might be able to drag myself up in a quick overnighter. The answer was one Chamrousse, with a recent TDF climb as an added bonus.

The bonus climb had to be done yesterday, when I arrived in Grenoble. That meant a mid-afternoon start and that meant hot! It was over 30C for two-thirds of the climb, when I finally escaped the heat of the valley and entered into the high country. This climb from Grenoble up to the Vercors mountains appeared in last year’s Tour de France and finished not too far from the square I had my banana in, pictured below.

This morning I attacked (in my way) my HC climb, situated on the eastern side of the valley I stayed in. Since I can’t seem to sleep past 5:30am in the summer, I was alone on the mountain. Except for morning traffic, of course, which is pretty awful around Grenoble. The driving community there seems to have a high percentage of jackasses, too, but that’s another story.

Anyway, after a few kilometers I was finished with towns and villages and the rest of the 20 km climb was in lush forest, with the occasional excellent view. Here’s one of where I climbed yesterday – the Vercors.

A couple more from the climb. I could have stopped for more on the descent, but it was far too fun to contemplate putting on the brakes.

Finally, here is Lance Armstrong definitely not winning the time trial on my climb in 2001; one of years that he absolutely didn’t win the Tour de France.