Col de la Croix Fry & Col des Aravis
Date: 28th June 2023
Climb Col de Croix-Fry
Ride No. 65
Climb Col de Aravis
Ride No. 66
Another sunny day in paradise
Four Kms from my campsite at Thones is the Col de la Croix Fry, a 6/10, 11.5Km with a 7% average plus 12% bumps.
The Col is a feature in this year’s TdF and so the road is immaculate.
(We really need the TdF back in England and maybe some roads repaired).
As I approached the small village of Manigod, the anticipation of the Tour was there for all to see.
Bikes, displays, jerseys and all sorts were on display; the town was really looking forward to this.
My schedule today is to ride the Col de la Croix Fry, descend to Saint-Jean-de-Sixt for the Col des Aravis climb and a campsite return over the Col de la Croix-Fry.
It’s another sunny day in the mountains. I’m feeling good, spinning well and other riders are on the road.
Can’t win, so don’t try.
Ahead of me is a lone rider wearing a French shirt. As I pass him, I confidently greet him with a, “Bonjour”.
Barely lifting his head, he grunts a reply, “Hi”.
Further ahead is another rider, this time wearing a San Francisco Cycling jersey.
I say ‘Hi’ and of course a French ‘Bonjour’ returns.
Laughing to myself, I accept I can’t win at this game.
Within a few more Kms, a third rider is slowly progressing up the climb.
This time, I opt for ‘Hi’.
‘Oh no, being passed by a Brompton,’ was the response this time.
It was a rider was one from the group I had met at the auberge on the summit of the Col de la Colombiere yesterday.
We exchanged pleasantries before I rode on.
This was another day when I felt comfortable with the 8% gradient. Am I becoming fitter, or the Garmin is telling me fibs? (I’m going for the former).
At the top of the Col de la Croix Fry, my intention to grab a coffee and water bottle refill at the auberge was thwarted.
Obviously, my spending power was not sufficient and the auberge owner abruptly told me to use the roadside fountain a 100mtrs back down the road.
I’ll forget the coffee and head to the beginning of the Col des Aravis segment at Saint-Jean-de-Sixt.
The town was lively, and the delights of a fruit tart and a double espresso were waiting at the boulangerie.
No need to rush on such a nice day.
Where did all the cars go?
The Col de Aravis is a typical out-of-town climb. A busy first few Kms before it quietens down.
I often wonder about this phenomenon. There were no turnings, so where does the traffic go?
The climb now takes on the familiar and delightful land of wooden chalets and red geraniums before open fields take over.
Haute Savoie is where I am.
Then another familiar sight now came into play, ‘Roadworks Ahead’ signs.
No major constructions this time, though.
To prepare for the Tour, roadworks involved painting “Haute Savoie le department” in huge letters on the road.
They were certainly ensuring that the cameras wouldn’t miss where they were.
It was also a busy scene at the top as Porsche, motorbikes, and campervans jostled for parking spaces.
Not sure where they all came from, but thankfully, not past me.
Cheered on by the road painters, I raced down the Col and disciplined myself not to stop at every bend for photos.
My wakening moment was the return up Col de la Croix Fry, but descending through Manigod rewarded the effort.