Ireland

My father recently passed away and never got a chance to take my mother to her homeland, so I decided to take her for her 85th birthday. ireland is stunning and even greener than they say, and the people are super friendly. Here a few pictures from our recent trip.

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Another Connemara bog…
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Connemara

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Climbing Mont-Blanc

Part I

I hadn’t planned a cycling trip this summer let alone a trip to Chamonix but after watching Le Tour I had a really bad case of cycling fever… and mountain fever, and why not climb Mt-Blanc while I’m at it ?! And with my boss on vacation no better time than to pull out the steaming coffee mug…

Nine climbers killed in an avalanche, two more by falling rocks, with the fluctuating weather conditions these last few years the news is more often bad than good. Yvan and I had planned climbing up one of the more difficult routes via Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit but with a heat wave in the forecast and conditions similar to those experienced by the 9 climbers killed in July we decided to play it safe and stay home. I was disappointed; I only had a few days left before returning to Canada and any hope of climbing Mt-Blanc was fading fast. A guide friend suggested I climb up alone as long as the weather forecast was favorable, but not knowing what to expect and thinking of how stressed my poor parents must already be, I decided to let it go…  But I consider myself fortunate and have some wonderful mountaineering friends; Florence called me last minute and hooked me up with her friend Carola, a tall sexy blond from Germany looking for a partner to climb Mont Blanc !

Many climbers claim Mont Blanc is an easy climb and I tend to agree, but while technically not challenging Mont-Blanc is still no walk in the parc. Even the classic Gouter route, with its limited exposure to falling seracs, requires traversing the sketchy Couloir du Gouter (also known as “Le Couloir de la Mort” because of the number of fatalities). Check out this video to see what I mean !

Continue reading “Climbing Mont-Blanc”

Road Biking Chamonix

Chamonix is known as the mecca of hors-piste (big mountain) skiing but it’s also a great starting point for some fantastic road biking provided you have a car; a 1 hour drive in any direction will lead you to some of the greatest mountain passes ridden in the Tour de France, Giro and Tour de Suisse.

Grimselpass/Furkapass - Switchback heaven !

From Chamonix (F)

The Chamonix valley itself has a limited number of cycling itineraries but is the starting point for a truly epic ride – Le Tour du Mont-Blanc ! But more on that later… The best way to avoid jet lag when you arrive is to leave the shopping for a rainy day and head right out for a ride up to le Barrage d’Emosson ! Besides, Chamonix is becoming a popular destination for the rich and elite and can be avoided all together… But don’t tell you signficant other and make sure to take her to Cheverny which has all sorts of goodies for the home including the world-famous Braséro ! And if she’s extra special Amazone Lingerie has a wonderful selection of AUBADE.

Barrage d’Emosson (65 kms round-trip)

[Chamonix – Argentiere – Col des Montets – Chatelard(CH) – Finhaut (CH) – Col de la Gueulaz – Barrage d’Émosson]

A classic. It doesn’t matter where you’re staying in the valley get on the main road and head towards the village of Argentière. If you started in Chamonix  take the alternate route through les Nants/Les Plans and enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Mont-Blanc and its neighboring summits. The road between Chamonix and Argentière can be a drag and is quite busy during the tourist season… but once you leave Argentière the fun begins with the 5 km climb up the Col des Montets. Again don’t miss out on the views of Les Drus, l’Aiguille Verte and surrounding glaciers ! Once you cross the border into Switzerland take note of the first tourist shop on the left – it has one of the finest chocolate selections in the valley ! Several kilometers later bare left and head towards the village of Finhaut where the real climbing begins !  Head all the way up to the dam and enjoy a mini-panettone and Rivella !

Col de la Gueulaz
Col de la Gueulaz (alt. 1934 m)
Nothing more satisfying than Rivella and Panettone !
View of Emosson dam

Chamonix – Col du Grand St-Bernard (180 kms round-trip)

[Chamonix – Argentiere – Col des Montets – Col de la Forclaz – Martigny – Col du Grand St-Bernard (alt. 2473 m) => Chamonix]

This is a nice one, roughly 4500m of vertical with many alternatives routes. You can shorten the ride and do a round trip to Martigny and back. Or if you’re feeling really good, descend the Grand St-Bernard all the way to Saint-Leonard and head back up.

Chamonix-Passy (75 kms)

[Chamonix – Les Houches – Servoz – Passy (Return via Les Vaudagnes)]

Tour du Mont-Blanc (330 kms)

[Chamonix – Megéve – Col des Saisies (alt. 1650 m) – Cormet de Roselend (alt. 1968 m) – Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Col du Petit St-Bernard (alt. 2188 m) – Aosta – Col du Grand St-Bernard (alt. 2473 m) – Champex – Martigny – Col de la Forclaz (alt. 1527 m) – Col des Montets (alt. 1461 m) – Chamonix]

A monster ! 6 mountain passes/7300 m of vertical/15+ hours in the saddle – it doesn’t get any better ! Most people will make a 2 day trip out of this epic ride but that means backpack, clothes, hair dryer… a drag when you’re riding a 15 lb race bike ! Do it in a single day and earn some bragging rights 🙂

Many cyclists do the loop clockwise heading first down to Martigny, but the Col du Grand St-Bernard is more enjoyable from the Italian side and the climb up the Petit St-Bernard is a blast from Bourg-Saint-Maurice. You’ll probably finish in the dark and there’s far less traffic on the way up to La Forclaz; don’t forget a headlight and tail-light !

Mont-Blanc from the Petit St-Bernard (alt. 2188 m)

 

From Passy (F)

Col de Romme (120 kms)

[Col de Romme – Col de la Colombière – Col de la Croix Fry – Col des Aravis]

The Col de Romme was first ridden in 2009 on stage 17 of the Tour de France when Franck Schleck took the lead and is a more enjoyable (and difficult) alternative to reach the Col de la Colombiere.

Cormet de Roselend (kms)

[Mégève – Col des Saisies – Cormet de Roselend  => Megeve]

 

From Cluses(F)

1) Joux-Plane – Col de la Joux Vert – Col de l’Encrenaz – Col de la Ramaz

From Aigle (CH)

[Aigle – Les Mosses – Gstaad – Col du Pillion – Diablerets – Col de la Croix – Villars – Aigle]

From Innertkirchen (CH)

[Sustenpass – Furkapass – Grimselpass]

Go Fabian !
Get out the AK-47 !!

From St-Jean de Maurienne (F)

[Col des Mollards – Croix-de-Fer – Bourg d’Oisans – Col du Lautaret – Col du Galibier – Col du Télégraphe]

Vers Bourg d'Oisan

From Nyon (CH)

[Nyon – St-Cergues – Le Marchairuz – Lac de Joux – Le Molondruz – Nyon]

Vue sur le Lac Léman

 

 

Ringwood Trail Map – Update !

Some major changes and update to the map!

It now includes:

  1. 6 Bridges
  2. Race Course
  3. Poison Ivy
  4. Cat’s Nest
  5. Double S Trail
  6. Blueberry Way

The file is available for download as a Garmin Custom Map .kmz file and has been optimized for the Garmin Edge 800. To use it: download the .kmz file and copy it to the GarminCustomMaps directory and make sure custom maps have been enabled.

If you don’t own a Garmin Edge 800 you can still download the map and load it into Google Earth 🙂

SHOW ME THE MAPS!

The map is a work in progress and updated regularly and will eventually include all trails from the Ramapo Ringwood area. Please leave me any feeback or suggestions in the comments area below, or if you find any errors!

Enjoy!

Paul

Ringwood Trail Map

My Ringwood Trail Map is finally available for download!

    

 It now includes:

  1. Cannonball Trail (Complete)
  2. Yellow Trail
  3. White Trail
  4. Ringwood-Ramapo Red
  5. Skylands Trail
  6. Warm Puppy Rock

The file is available for download as a Garmin Custom Map .kmz file and has been optimized for the Garmin Edge 800. To use it: download the .kmz file and copy it to the GarminCustomMaps directory and make sure custom maps have been enabled.

If you don’t own a Garmin Edge 800 you can still download the map and load it into Google Earth 🙂

SHOW ME THE MAPS!

The map is a work in progress and updated regularly and will eventually include all trails from the Ramapo Ringwood area. Please leave me any feeback or suggestions in the comments area below, or if you find any errors!

Enjoy!

Paul

Bromont Trail Map

I won’t take credit for actually making the map, I converted the official 2011 Bromont trail map for use with the Garmin Edge 800. The map is a Custom Garmin Map and downloadable as in .kmz format. Simply download the file and copy it to your GarminCustomMaps folder!

If you don’t own a Garmin Edge 800 you can still download the map and load it into Google Earth 🙂

SHOW ME THE MAPS!

Enjoy!

Paul