Saturday, 5 September 2015. Albertville to La Chambre, via the Col de la Madeleine (2000m) 66km
Today we would do one of the famous climbs from the Tour De France, the acol De Madeleine. We followed a minor road from Albertville that took us beside a highway for 20km up a flat river valley. We then turned on to the route up the Col de la Madeleine which immediately started to climb a series of switchbacks up a near vertical cliff face.
There were km markers that also gave the next kms gradient, it varied from 10% to 4%, with a couple of flat sections in the middle over 24km. We had lunch and dinner on board as well as a heavier tent which added to the work. Andy is getting very fit, so led the way most of the day. Halfway up we started to feel the cold, the wind was very chilly, nearer the top it was freezing. It took us about 4 hours to climb the 24km, including lunch and morning tea, plus numerous rest stops. The view back towards Mont Blanc was very dramatic, but due to cloud we could not see Mont Blanc itself. There were plenty of cyclists and motorcycles going in the opposite direction and a few the same direction, many cyclist seem to start from the top! About 2/3 of the way up we came across a huge Cadel painted across the road.
It was a cool and winding decent to La Chambre, which was broken when we stopped to assist a guy who appeared to have done his collarbone falling off his MTB. He was a local, so we waited with him until his father came with a car to rescue him. We ended up camping in a nice campground overlooking the mountains. It was full of road cyclists all doing the various climbs including the Col de la Madeleine.