The 2nd Alpine Trial 2015
6th - 9th September 2015
The 2nd Alpine Trial 2015 - Route Outline
With the exception of a brief foray over the border into France on Day Two, the whole of this years Alpine Trial takes place in one of the least known countries of the world – The Kingdom of Savoy. Yes, I know the French regard the Alps as theirs, but ask any patriotic Savoyard and they will tell you the vote was rigged when the decision was taken to join their larger neighbour in April 1860.
The event itself is divided into three distinct daily “loops”, each one designed to give you the full flavour of this beautiful and spectacular region of France (sorry -Savoie). Where possible we have tried to include enough time in the schedule to allow at least one short halt morning and afternoon, plus lunch. All of these are in small traditional village establishments which we feel helps add to the period character of the event, as well as giving welcome trade to many of these remote mountain communities.
Day 1: Monday 7 September – Massif de Bauges and Massif de la Vanoise – 316km
Today we head south, firstly over Semnoz, the 1600m high ridge that dominates the west side of Lac d’Annecy, and then deep into the lanes of the Massif de Bauges. After a dizzying descent into the valley of the Isere, a welcome morning coffee break awaits before an Alpine section through the lanes of the Chaine des Hurtieres.
An easy run towards the Italian border brings you to one of “finds” of the event – a near vertical “staircase” of 17 hairpins to rival anything in Europe. Relatively unknown until recently, this dramatic road takes you through a string of Alpine villages and over a remote mountain pass to lunch at the highest point on the event, the 2000m high Col de la Madeleine.
After lunch, the route descends into the dramatic Tarentaise valley before turning north to the Olympic town of Albertville and further sections through the Alpine pastures of the Beaufort Valley. Afternoon “tea” will be taken at a lakeside café before the final sections of the afternoon in the foothills of the Chaine des Aravis and the home run alongside the blue waters of the Lac d’Annecy
Day 2: Tuesday 8 September – Jura and Cotes du Rhone – 270km
Today we head west out of Annecy, into the pre-Alps bordering the Rhone valley.
The first 20km or is through the country lanes of the Albanais, an area of pleasant rolling farmland once famous for tobacco growing. After continuing west you eventually come within sight of the Rhone valley, with the southernmost ridge of the Jura mountains rising like a great wall on the far side. Once on the western bank of the river, the road climbs through vineyards to morning coffee on the infamous Col de la Biche.
By Alpine standards, the Jura Mountains aren’t particularly high or spectacular, but they hide a maze of lanes ideal for rallying through the forests that gave them their name. Navigators will have their work cut out today. The morning ends with a climb of the Grand Colombier, with its amazing views stretching from Lake Geneva to the north, Lac de Bourget to the south, and Mont Blanc smack ahead as you crest the top. After re-crossing the Rhone into Savoie, lunch is taken at possibly the most stunning location I have ever seen in the Alps.
Because we are giving you this evening off to enjoy Annecy at your leisure, we are keeping the afternoon relatively short with just two testing regularities over some little known cols before the run back into town.
Day 3: Wednesday 9 September – Bisanne and Chaine de Aravis – 264km
The massive snow-clad peak of Mont Blanc will be your constant companion today as you explore nearly every mountain road at its feet.
To start you will climb high above Lac d’Annecy before continuing south over a relatively easy “col” into the Arly valley. However, the next climb to morning coffee at a remote mountain refuge right under the towering peaks of the Chaine de Aravis will definitely test your engines! From the top you will get your first view of the day of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, before starting the long descent back into the valley below. After another stiff climb, the next Alpine section to the ski resort of Les Saises will test all of your skills before a long, but very scenic, road section over the Col des Aravis brings you to lunch at a roadside restaurant.
The afternoon kicks off straight out of lunch with a hilly regularity, before the driver has a chance to try his skills on a special test. A final regularity up a little used mountain climb brings you to the afternoon tea halt in a mountain lodge high on a hidden plateau. After a short run on gravel roads across the plateau, a final section through gentle lanes brings you back to the shores of Lac d’Annecy for the ceremonial finish.