Climb the 5.8km Col de la Loze bike route to the top at 2304m high – that was the challenge put to Victor, our sports community manager, on a beautiful sunny afternoon…
"Bright sunshine, fresh air… the conditions are ideal for riding my bike and enjoying this mountain pass which opened last year and is dedicated exclusively to cyclists: The Col de la Loze… The starting point is from where I work at the tourist office of Courchevel 1850, in the direction of the altiport, and following the road markings and kilometre markers!
I arrive at the farm of Pralong and can’t resist buying some tasty farm products to enjoy on the way back: Beaufort and Tomme cheeses, cold meats, jam… everything looks mouth-wateringly delicious! This is where the journey using pedal power really gets going. There is silence, and the scenery is extraordinarily beautiful. The beginning of the journey is quite rapid, I cross pastures where cows graze peacefully and I like to imagine the ski slopes under my wheels… Then the first climb arrives - and it's steep! My advice is don’t start too fast, because the ascent is peppered with false flats and ramps (up to 17%), so you have to keep your wits about you.
At the start of the Saulire gondola lift, I find myself looking with envy at the fresh drinks at the Verdons snack bar, but I decide to stay focused and not stop! The track resumes on the mountainside and now there are hairpin bends. The landscape changes again, becoming rockier, the silence and tranquility broken only by the whistling of marmots as, little by little, the summit of Mont Blanc is gradually revealed.
I can’t resist a glance at the beautiful Lac Bleu, and then I’m ready to tackle the final stretch - 2km that alternates between flats and inclines. The scene at the finish is well worth the effort: a stunning view of the Vanoise glaciers, the Grande Casse, the Grand Bec and of course, magnificent Mont Blanc. It's time to capture the moment with a photo at the showpiece giant bike indicating the height of the Col de la Loze (2304m) - and take a scenic terrace break at the high-altitude restaurant Le 1928.
On the way back, I take time to admire the majestic Saulire mountain and to really appreciate the calm and tranquil atmosphere without a car, motorbike or campervan in sight… Then that's it, back to the office, mission accomplished… I’m really happy to have achieved this ride to the top of the third highest pass of Savoie and to have experienced such an exclusive and liberating ride.”
Victor's top tips: don’t rush it at the beginning, plan for the challenges that will come. And, make sure your bike is in tip top condition, especially the brakes for the descent! For the less athletic, an electric bike is ideal.