Champagnole to Geneva

Lots of climbing right from the off today resulting in the slowest ever first 50K, followed by a fairly rapid 15.

Having settled on a slow and steady 30x19 gear, reaching the summit of Savinne seemed to take forever. There were several descents along the way which demonstrated the temperature difference a few meters can make, as it was getting pretty cold near the top and the ground beside the road increasingly covered with snow.

On the whole the N5 was generally fairly quiet and traffic wise, the exception being when slow moving lorry would pass with a queue of cars in its wake, so it was possible to stop for the odd photo, but the weather conditions made this less tempting than usual.

Eventually the summit came and, after a quick photo stop, the descent into Morez which was not as pleasant as it might have been due to the stinging sensation of rain hitting your face and it being really pretty cold now.

I had planned to stop for a refuel in Morez but, as the town was about another 50mtr drop from the N5 I decided to soldier on up the next climb after stopping by the side of the road for a couple of bananas and another layer of clothing.

The climb out of Morez was steeper than at the start of the day and things were getting much colder. Whereas Savinne was content with token coverage; the snow this side of Morez was still impressively thick and was easily a meter deep by the Summit.

Col de la Givrine

At this point, I still wasn't sure which route I was going to take into Geneva, as you have a choice of Cols: Givrine which comes out of the mountains between Geneva and Nyon or Fuacille to the west of Geneva. I had been advised by the staff in the hotel that Faucille was possibly a safer descent on a bike but, I had a preference for Givrine because I fancied the lake view for the final part of the journey.

In the end it was the cold that made the decision, Givrine was nearer and would provide the soonest descent.

The ride along the lake was not what I had imagined; a busy dual carriageway with any possible scenic view obscured at almost every point. A cycle path is provided along the length of it though, which is handy because the roads in Switzerland weren't much fun either. Suddenly the driving standards were far more reminiscent of Britain with a similar level of courtesy extended to cyclists. This came as a bit of a shock after a few days in France and did spoil the final stages a little.

The Lac Léman is a big old lake and it probably took about two hours from first sighting half way down Givrine to actually parking the bike at it's bottom most point in the Jardin Anglais. The lack of a scenic view and sudden change in driving standards made this final stage the least enjoyable part of the tour and I was glad when it was done.

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Day:4 of 4
Date:13 April 2005
Distance:90 KM
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