Tour 2018,  8 - 11 August

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Bellegarde - Cuvéry - Brénod - Hauteville891680
Hauteville - Seyssel - La Chambotte - Aix-les-Bains1021770
Aix-les-Bains - Le Revard - Le Semnoz - Annecy912450
Annecy - Genève - Chesaux1441810

map   pictures

Stage 1 (8 August 2018): Bellegarde - Cuvéry - Brénod - Hauteville


I woke up early to ride to Zurich, take à train to Geneva, and further to Bellegarde. This town is in a narrow valley, and my first task was to climb on its western flank. Fortunately, after many very hot days, it had rained a bit and the air was somewhat cooler. I was going up to the Cuvery pass, quite a long climb but not difficult at all and very quite. Then i wanted to go to the Bérentin pass, but at a crossing i took the wrong road. I had to ride back for 3 km. After reaching finally the Bérentin, i went south, which on this day meant against the wind. The roads were all going gently up and down and brought me to the next passes: col de la Cheminée, Golet des Plânes, Golet Géla, Golet Comment and Golet Sapin, but this was again to the north. Then came another challenge, a small pass on unpaved forest tracks, Golet Boquin. After another stretch on paved roads with the Belleroche and Colliard passes, there was a part on a gravel road, with two small passes in the forest close to this road: Golet du Bret and Golet à la Chèvre. It was quite hot by the time i was again on paved roads. So far, i hadn't seen any single fountain (or only some with a "non drinkable" sign). Before getting too dehydrated, i made a stop at a bar in Brénod. From there to Hauteville, my goal of the day, it was not long. However, i made it longer by adding a loop, first down to the Thioux pass, then up to the Mazière pass, which was quite steep and thus harder. After almost 6 h in saddle, i reached Hauteville.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Col de Cuvéry151130770
La Crotta17119060
Sur la Roche221070 
Sur les Pièces25116090
Col du Bérentin261140 
Sur les Pièces27116020
Pont de Gapin36900 
Col de la Cheminée3793030
Golet des Plânes3895020
Golet Géla39940 
Golet Comment4198040
Golet Sapin44107090
Golet Boquin46990 
Col de Belleroche47106070
Col de Colliard49980 
Golet à la Borne50101030
Golet du Bret52970 
Golet à la Chèvre53100030
Les Ollières68800 
La Maladière (Lompnes)6982020
Golet du Thioux73740 
Col de Mazière831150410
total89 1680

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Stage 2 (9 August 2018): Hauteville - Seyssel - La Chambotte - Aix-les-Bains


The weather forecasts for this second day were for some local showers. I did not worry too much about it and started to climb to the Croix de l'Orme and Valorse passes, a small and quiet road largely in the forest, with a small part unpaved (between both passes), where i got a few rain drops. The rain never became strong but it would last the whole day. I had to be careful in the descent because of the wet road. I crossed the Valromey valley, with Ruffieu in the descent, the river Séran at the bottom and Hotonnes on the other side. I went further to the Richemond pass. It was also a quiet climb followed by a wet descent. This brought me to the valley of the Rhône river, which i crossed in the little town of Seyssel. From there to the south, i found i bicycle path. It would have been nice, but it was full of bumps because of tree roots growing under the macadam. Anyway, it ended where the Fier valley comes down. I continued towards another Ruffieux, this one with an X at the end. There, i turned left to climb towards the Clergeon pass. The climb was a bit long but easy. It was still raining, but really not much and my feet were still dry in my shoes. From the Clergeon, i thought that i could ride along the crest to reach the next pass. First it was an easy dirt road, but then it became a path that disappeared more and more in the vegetation. I had to search and try several passages between trees and shrubs, knowing only that there would be a track, at least on the map. I was finally able to find my way, including a very steep and slippery slope cut by a fallen tree. Useless to tell that i was glad to find a proper road further south and to finally reach the Sapenay pass. From there, the road went further south until it crossed again the mountain ridge at the Cessens pass. It was all downhill until i reached St-Germain. It was then time to climb again, to La Chambotte, a village and a pass at the same time. The other side was above the Bourget lake. To go down, the road went a long way to the north, which means that i had later to go a long way south along the lake shore. This was a main road with much traffic and thus no fun. Finally, i reached Aix-les-Bains. Wet and dirty.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Col de l'Orme51100290
Col de Valorse61080 
Les Côves201050390
Combe à la Done211020 
Col de Richemont22104020
En Zénémian31460 
Sous les Traz3349030
Chez Janin47250 
Crozan (Ruffieux)56240 
Col du Clergeon65980740
Col du Sapenay69900 
Champ Collomb7091010
Col de Cessens73800 
La Chambotte80650150
Le Bachet (Grésine)94240 
total102 1770

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Stage 3 (10 August 2018): Aix-les-Bains - Le Revard - Le Semnoz - Annecy


From Aix-les-Bains, i wanted to climb to the mountain that dominates the city, Le Revard. By bicycle, this does not go directly, would be too steep. The road climbs around the mountain, making a loop to the north and goes over the Cluse. It was a long but nice ascent. Near the Revard summit, there were vacations houses and other buildings. The road made there several loops and went over two passes, Golet du Taisson and Golet de la Pierre. From the second one, there was a grand view over the Bourget lake. I took advantage of a bank to take time enjoying the landscape. Descending from there to the south, i came across the Rebollion pass without having to climb at all. A bit further down, i turned right on a forest track towards the Pertuisset pass. Mud was sticking to the wheels, but the main question was to find out where the pass really was because some maps locate it at a view pointer further than the highest point across the crest. After deciding that i had been at the pass and coming back the the road, there was a long descent. It went first to the Plainpalais pass, then all the way down the valley to the bridge of Lescheraines.
There was then a bit more than 300 m to climb before reaching the Leschaux pass. I had been over these last two passes during my 1996 tour, but this gave me the opportunity to have them now also on photographs. From Leschaux, i did not ride directly down to the lake of Annecy. Instead, i made a détour over the Semnoz mountain. And from this large détours event two smaller détours. What for? For passes, what else. The first was on a gravel road branching close to the Crêt de Châtillon summit, to the Goléron (Golet Rond) pass. The second was a small loop in the middle of the descent to Annecy, to find two small passes on a forest trail, both named after animals: Pas du Loup and Pas de l'Âne (wolf and donkey). I finished this ride in Annecy, in the historical town that is too nice no to be fully overcrowded by tourists, especially in the middle of the summer!

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Col de la Cluse181180930
Golet du Taisson241490310
Golet de la Pierre25151020
Pas du Rebollion271440 
Bois de Retiède281390 
Col du Pertuiset29140010
Col de Plainpalais351170 
Le Buisson43800 
Le Mont4482020
Le Pont48590 
Col de Leschaux56900310
Golet Rond701620720
Crêt de Châtillon72170080
Pt. 84482840 
Pas du Loup8389050
Pas de l'Ane84840 
total91 2450

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Stage 4 (11 August 2018): Annecy - Genève - Chesaux


Annecy was much quieter when i left for the fourth and already last stage of this tour. I went roughly to the north-east. I probably did not take the easiest road because after climbing to Le Bulloz i had to ride down again to cross the Fier river and up again to Nâves-Parmelan. I continued up the gentle climb towards Aviernoz and then down to Thorens. The next pass was not steep either, Col des Fleuries, which i had already climbed from the other side in 2006. Turning left in the descent from this pass allowed me to reach the Évires pass, on a large road running parallel to a highway. I continued roughly in north-west direction, going always a bit up and down in this hilly region, crossing Pas de Cheval and Col le Parc. Nothing special to mention about these quite insignificant passes. A bit a more serious climb was then up the Salève mountain, more precisely to the Croisette and then along the crest to the Grande Gorge pass. Then it was all downhill, with just a small detour in Monettier to see the Pas de l'Échelle. At the north-eastern foot of the Salève, i crossed the Arve river between Étrembières and Annemasse.
Then it was no longer far to reach the border, entering Switzerland and Geneva. In spite of the traffic and some construction work, crossing this big city was not too difficult. Crossing Versoix, a suburb of Geneva, was much more difficult. Cyclists were diverted away from the road along the lake because of construction works, but then there were no signposts any more. Several cyclists were turning around searching their way. Apart from this, i followed the main road along the lake because the bicycle itinerary makes too many detours. It was long enough like this to reach Morges, where i made a stop at the terrace of arestaurant. In Morges, i left the road along the lake, came in the suburbs of Lausanne and finally climbed up to Chesaux where i would meet my girlfriend Angelika and stay for the week-end. Well, not just staying there because other bicycle or mountain bike tours were planned...

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Bois de Frontenex7460 
Le Bulloz10580120
Pont de Nâves11500 
La Vuaz23640 
Col des Fleuries30920280
Col d'Évires35800 
La Glacière (Évires)36770 
Pas de Cheval42930160
Chez Dolliot (Arbusigny)44900 
Col du Parc4592020
Les Mouilles48800 
Chez le Tournier52940140
La Croisette551180240
Col de Grande Gorge581290110
Pas de Échelle66690 
Les Ages10741040
total144 1810

PS / 27.4.2019