Saturday, 10 August 2013

Alpine Glow, Col du Mont Cenis and the Izoard

Alpine Glow on 'The Midi' painted in Watercolours

It wasn't all cycling as you can see on our road trip, I did make some special time for painting and was certainly inspired along the way.

Our trip continued driving up and over the Iseran, this wild part of the French Alps does remind me of the Scottish Highlands, the photo above is looking back up to the top with a perfect Blue sky.We decided to stay the night in the village of Lansvillard at the foot of the Col du Mont Cenis which borders with Italy. The Col was described with low gradients of around 6%, perfect for a couple of hours cycling. I know better now the gradients are between 8 - 9% and with a gale force wind. 

Here I come powering up the slope and here is Nigel nice and relaxed on the summit top.

The next day we headed up over the Col Cenis and across into Italy, then up the Col Mongenvre and back into France and down into Briancon. In the Campervan I'm pleased to add.We set up base and got ready for the next cycle ride, Number five of the trip Col d' Izoard. Now I should have realised Izoard means in Yorkshire 'It's hard'!!

The ride started well, we quickly made it to Cervieres a tiny hamlet at the base of the climb, then uphill all the way, round hairpins getting steeper, the wind picking up, dark clouds threatening and the scenery getting more barren and formidable. This high Col has featured in many Tour du France stages, but seeing it alone and eerie quiet, I felt a sense of forebode. Stopping on the last few hairpins and and thinking this beast of a Col was going to beat me, the rain started pounding, there was nothing else for it, but too make our way to the summit shelter.

The thunder roared above, the rain came heavy, we warmed our hearts with Hot Chocolate and thought about our return ride with dread! I did feel like shedding a tear amongst the novelty toys on sale in the tiny shop! But a squeaky Marmot teddy brought a smile and the clouds began to clear! I think you realise by now this artist who likes the colour pink was wondering what she had got herself into!!

The sun came out, a photo of the top at 2,360 metres and lets get down quick before the next storm approaches. The roads quickly dried and we safely made it back down the Col. Arriving back at the van was such a delight!!
Now I did say on our return I'm not going up any more Cols!!

Hope you enjoyed our road trip, more paintings next week.

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