Post by Mary on October 14, 2019
Jamie just got back grinning ear to ear from his very successful recce trip from Chamonix to Briançon. Jamie and Soren rode the route bikepacking style because no lifts or uplift services are available at this time of year. They got a proper soaking mid-week but otherwise they were riding in glorious October sunshine. Read on for the trip overview and photos from the recce.
Chamonix to Briançon is our newest point-to-point adventure. 6 days of spectacular mountain biking through an ever-changing landscape as we cross a series of cols and valleys heading South across the Alps. 100% new trails for Ride the Alps linking the beautiful, historic towns of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Briançon. As always Jamie has chosen a route that is off-road as much as possible and that capitalizes on some of the best and lesser-known singletrack in the Alps. Because of this there are some sections of bike-a-hike on 3 of the days in the itinerary but we think the effort is worth it!
This route has a similar level of technical difficulty as the Tour du Mont Blanc, The Eiger Tour and Chamonix to Zermatt. You need to be an experienced mountain biker with a good enough level of fitness to ride 1000m+ climbs on consecutive days. We do use more lifts and uplifts on this route than on our other point-to-point routes but there’s still plenty of pedaling in between.
Accommodation is a mixture of small hotels and mountain refuges. There is a choice of accommodation in Chamonix and possibly Briançon. The other nights of accommodation are fixed.
Chamonix to Briançon is flexible in that we can make the most of the lifts in July and August to save the legs and maximize singletrack playtime or we can ride all/most of the climbs with leg power alone. It can be ridden with full van support for luggage and medical/mechanical assistance where possible or it can be ridden bikepacking style, whereby you carry your own gear for the trip. For the bikepacking option we can arrange for a van and driver to bring your bike bags and excess luggage to Briançon at the end of the trip and then transport you back to Geneva airport.
Chamonix to Briançon is 5 days of point-to-point riding with a full day of riding at the end to explore the outstanding trails of the Briançon area. There are so many options to choose from in this fantastic mountain biking playground. The standard itinerary in July and August when the lifts are running includes the following approximate distances, ascent and descent day by day:
Day One Chamonix to Beaufort: 50km, 1000m ascent, 3000m descent. We take 2 lifts on this day.
Day Two Beaufort to St Martin: 70km, 1100m ascent, 2200m descent. We take 2 uplifts and there are many options for more uplift-assisted riding in Beaufort, which we may well capitalise on depending on time/weather/the group.
Day Three St Martin to Valloire: 40km, 1700m or 700m ascent (depending on whether or not you take the option of a van uplift to avoid a big climb), 1600m or 3600m descent (if you take the van uplift then you have time to explore the lift-accessed trails around Valloire, which gives you more descent).
Day Four Valloire to Nevache: 30km, 400m ascent, 1600m descent. We take one lift and there is the option of doing more life-accessed riding here.
Day Five Nevache to Briançon: 22km, 1000m ascent, 1600m descent.
Day Six Briançon exploration day. Distance, ascent and descent depends on which of the options you decide upon with Jamie.
Approximate total distance not including the riding on Day 6: 212km
Approximate ascent for the “standard” itinerary using all lifts/uplifts and not including Day 6: 4200m
Approximate descent for the “standard” itinerary not including any extra lift/uplift use or Day 6: 10,000m
If you are interested in riding this stunning new route from Chamonix to Briançon in 2020 email Mary.