Riding in the Alps

The Alps – A great mountain range stretching across 8 countries. An iconic place for all cyclists, it is usually the place where the Tour de France is won and lost. I decided to test myself up many of the climbs the Alps has to offer, on our trip around Europe. Visiting many countries along the way, I rode hard and got a few KOM’s as a memoir! We started our Europe trip by driving down to the French Alps. We took the cable car up to the summit of Aiguille du Midi, which offered fantastic views of Mont Blanc. On the way back, we stopped at a sub-station and went for a little walk. I spotted a marmot amongst the rocks, and followed everywhere until I got a decent photo. I am pleased with the one below 🙂

Another country on our trip to visit was Italy. The weather was fantastic whilst we were there; sunny, clear skies, and 30°C+. We woke up early to avoid much of the heat (5:30am), and set off to climb Mottarone – A mountain, 2000m above sea level, with 4,000ft of climbing. We spotted a deer whilst ascending, and as you can see below, the view from the summit was extraordinary.

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The view from the summit of Mottarone…
An image of a marmot I took on Mont Blanc.
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My dad and I on the summit of Mottarone.
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The Italian lakes from the summit of Mottarone – The weather was fantastic, and I reckon we could see for at least 100 miles.

Visiting Switzerland, my dad and I rode up Furkapass – A fantastic, smooth climb winding through the Swiss Alps reaching a height of 2436m above sea level. This climb is probably the best climb I have ridden yet. Passing by the Rhône Glacier, we also saw many marmots too. The summit was well above the snow and cloud line, which helped to make the occasion even more exciting. As well as seeing the Rhône Glacier from the road, we also went inside it! There was an ice grotto, which allowed us to go inside the glacier – It was fantastic 🙂

Furka Pass
Me at the summit of Furkapass – 2436m above sea level.
Furka Pass 2
Beside the source of the river Rhône 🙂
Furka Pass 3
A view from the climb – Furkapass winding along the left, the river Rhône in the centre, and Grimsel Pass on the right.
Rhone Glacier 1
Me in front of the Rhône Glacier – The source of the river Rhône, there was an ice grotto – This allowed us to go inside the glacier! The entrance in this picture is just below my left arm. The glacier was massive!
Rhone Glacier 2
Me inside the Rhône Glacier – The ice inside was so blue!

Following Switzerland, we moved on to Austria. Staying in Bludenz, this was the last stop in the Alps before coming home. So, I decided to make the most of it by riding to Lünersee – A lake at the peak of the Austrian Alps. From the valley floor below, the mountains did look challenging – Despite this we rode up, spotting deers and birds of prey along the way. Unfortunately, the lake could only be accessed by foot or cable car. Nevertheless, I certainly had a fantastic time, scaling the HC climb. I also got a KOM too 🙂

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The Austrian Alps towered above us…
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Dad and I at the top of the climb to Lünersee 🙂

Our last stop on the Europe tour was in Belgium – Ypres, to be precise. Despite there being no mountains to scale, we rode to Roubaix velodrome, and were able to ride a few laps of this iconic track. Cobbles made a large part of the road surface riding to and from – Very bumpy!

Roubaix Velodrome 1

Roubaix Velodrome 2

This Europe trip was extraordinary – Next year, we are planning to ride around the Pyrenees and along the Côte d’Azur – Should be awesome!

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