Yesterday was the first day of our cycling tour. We left en masse from our hotel in Ferney-Voltaire and were guided along bike paths and back roads away from Geneva into France before turning south.
It was sprinkling for the first hour or so. Thankfully, it was no more than that. This marked the first time I have ridden in the rain. I'm glad I bought an extremely light-weight, compactable little back pack in Bourg d'Oisans last week. It came in very handy yesterday as we put on jackets, arm-warmers and leg warmers, then took them off, then put them back on all throughout the day.
|The areas we passed through were extremely green and lush, with mountains in the background.|
The above map shows Ferney-Voltaire (our starting point) at the top center. We passed to the west of Geneva and landed in Cruseilles (middle of map) for lunch. We always take back roads, which makes the rides safer, more interesting and more challenging. After lunch, Mark and I elected to do an optional add-on ride around Mont Saleve a long, sugar-loaf-shaped mountain that more or less stretches from Cruseilles to Annemasse (see map just east of the word "Geneva.).
The tour had suggested we do it in a clockwise fashion, ending of Cruseilles. We, however, were hungry when we reached the intersection leading around Saleve, so we headed down in Cruseilles for lunch, then headed back up to do the mountain loop in a counter-clockwise fashion. We are SO glad we did, even though it put us behind schedule. The rain had stopped by then, and the sun was trying to peak through the clouds. And the views were spectacular.
|Cruseilles, where we had lunch is at the bottom of the map. We road up the right side of the mountain, then back around the left side, ending up back in Cruseilles.|
|The ride up wasn't bad at all until we approached the col ("pass") at the end of the Saleve.|
Once we had rounded Mont Saleve, we ascended a bit on a ridge road and came to a point where it literally seemed we were on top of the world. To the east, south and west, mountain ranges seemed to go on forever.
|View over our shoulders back to Lake Geneva.|
We eventually made it back down to Cruseilles but got off-track on the way out, missing our tiny little road. With the help of a very kind man (whom I will write about separately), we got back on track. By then, it was actually almost sunny, and our route over the next couple of hours took us through farmland, over hill and over dale.
The latter part of the afternoon was, unfortunately, frustrating. Mark was using his Garmin to keep on the route the tour had laid out, which didn't always seem to jive with my paper map of the route. By then, it was late afternoon. We had hoped to be to the hotel by 5:00, but by the time we got lost several times coming through the city of Annecy and getting caught up in rush hour traffic, it was 6:30 before we pulled in - the last to arrive. It was the longest day we had ever experienced on one of these tours, but it was worth it to see what we had seen that day.
Today, we've have a rest day in Annecy, which is just as well because it's rained most of the day. A post about that to come ...
Our stats for yesterday: 77.6 miles, 6700 vertical feet. The route we took would normally have been 60 miles, so some how, we managed to add 17.6 miles.