Day 5: Mon 3rd July 2006
Ride: Col du Grand St. Bernard – 112 miles
There was no particular plan today and we’d always intended on taking it easy after all the riding we’d done over the weekend. After a late breakfast we gave the bikes a bit of a wash down and checked oil levels, etc. For those that had chains, they were also checked and oiled.
The bike line-up: (L-R) Kyle’s SV, Chris P’s Fireblade, Phil’s K1200, Gaz’s Blackbird and Chris B’s K1200
By late afternoon we’d all had enough of sitting around and decided to venture out for a short ride to the Col du Grand St. Bernard – the great thing about Chamonix is that it’s conveniently located in the western part of the Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy and provides easy access to some stunning Alpine roads and passes. When we got to the top the plan was to head down the Italian side and return to Chamonix through the Mont Blanc tunnel.
We left Chamonix and headed up the valley and over the Col des Montets towards Vallorcine and the French-Swiss border. From there we crossed into Switzerland and headed up and over the Col de la Forclaz and then on into Martigny. From Martigny the road up the Swiss side of the Grand St. Bernard is very good and fast until you reach the pass road itself where it is very tight in places. The first gear hairpins on Phil’s K1200 proved tricky because of it’s long wheelbase and it took a bit of practice to get used to them.
Top of the Grand St. Bernard
At the top we stopped for a coffee and took in the spectacular views that you can see below.
A view looking back down the Swiss side (L) and a group shot looking over the lake to the Italian side (R)
(L-R) Phil, Chris P, Gaz and Kyle
When we crossed the border into Italy we tried marmot spotting – without success. Below are two great views of the last section coming up on the Italian side, with Chris P searching in vain for the elusive marmot on the left.
We then rode down the Italian side and headed back to Chamonix via the Mont Blanc tunnel. It was only a short blast but in the space of a couple of hours we’d managed to ride a loop out over the Grand St. Bernard and back through the Mont Blanc tunnel, that took us from France to Switerland to Italy and back into France.
When we got back to the chalet we got cleaned up and then headed back into town for dinner. Tonight we went to Casa Valerio, a fantastic Italian restaurant that has a fabulous antipasti selection, and their pasta and pizzas come recomended.
Below is a group photo that was taken in the restaurant.
Casa Valerio: (L-R) Chris P, Kyle, Gaz, Phil and Chris B