French Alps cycling trip, Day 1

Early start to catch the National Express at 4:50 am to Gatwick, so we were up and out of bed close on 3:30 am. Little worried our bike boxes where not going to get on the bus as there was a little confusion when reading the luggage policy.


We got away with it even though the driver did mention that we should pay for excess baggage. Have to say it’s a very efficient way to get to the airport and a lot cheaper then public transport or a taxi, especially with all this luggage. Not to mention how close it is to our humble abode.

Will skip the boring airport malarkey and flight. So we arrived in France, only the second time I have actually stepped into France, I might add…landed in Lyon to be meet by Neil, Graeme and Eric. It was a fantastic day, the sun was belting down. Happy to be on holiday…well holiday is debatable.

After loading up a van full of bike boxes and headed off, all ten of us, in 3 vans. We stopped at decathlon for a few supplies and V picked up some much needed glasses for the alp’s descents, tough choice choosing the right pair but she found one.

We arrived at our humble abode Chateau Fossan, what an amazing place. This huge chateau with loads of lawn out the front, a barn at the back were we are storing our bikes, and were we spend a good deal of time this first afternoon putting the bikes back together after having to take them apart to get them in the bike, box. I managed to clean my head set, which I know, yes very geeky but it would have bugged me going up the cols as it was making a really annoying creaking sound. Anyway back to more important things.

Chateau Fossan

Chateau Fossan

Chateau Fossan

Chateau Fossan

Chateau Fossan

After getting all our bikes set up and Ryan, Alan, Will and Kelly arriving which probably took a solid 1-2 hours. Took my bike for a little test run up the road to check all was working okay.

On a side note you have to imagine this as I don’t think any of the pictures will give them justice, but we have cols (a mountain pass for those that are wondering) surrounding us.

Our first outing was planned as a short 37 km ride which took in a small col. We were all rearing to go when the heavens opened,so we hung back and waited for the rain to lighten, which it eventually did, so we headed out.

Boy I was puffing very quickly early in the ride…I will put that down to altitude, yeah whatever. Anyway what had turned into a gorgeous evening as we assembled at the bottom of the climb. Now bear in mind this was my first col and it was a little climb compared to what is to come. It felt tough, it was a steady climb with a gradient of about 6% for about 6 km, felt like it just went on and on, but eventually made it to the top and had the decent back down to look forward to. In total we cycled about 26 km with an elevation gain of roughly 591 meters.

The ride home wasn’t exactly flat either but absolutely stunning scenery, the Embrace guys have done such an amazing job finding this place, they are absolute stars. Dinner was an amazing feast of bbq chicken, macaroni cheese and salad, with a couple of glasses of wine that seemed to go down far to easily.

Anyway I had better get some shut eye as tomorrow is a bigger day and it only gets bigger and steeper….


4 thoughts on “French Alps cycling trip, Day 1

  1. Matt. Nice blog – I’m so glad that someone took photos of the week because I didn’t take any. Pretty grotty being back at work, so it’s nice to relive the holiday. I’m amazed you managed to write anything as I was way too knackered.
    Just one thing… a col is a mountain pass, not the mountain itself.

    1. ahhh…I shall have to ajust that, thanks for the heads up. I was all up for the write ups on the first few days then it fizzled out :)

  2. Matt – what a treat your blog is. Vanessa and you were outstanding holiday companions.

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