Mountain biking in France

Chamonix

Our first stop in France was in Chamonix. The weather remained as dull as in Scotland. Nevertheless, we had a lovely ride along a trail know as Petite Balcon Nord. It is a singletrack traversing the eastern slopes of the Chamonix valley from Argentiere to Le Tour. Great riding, with pleasant views of the Chamonix valley. 








Beginning of the singletrack


High traverse



Switchbacks



Gnarly roots



Clear morning

Morzine

Our next stop was Morzine in the middle of Port du Soleil a vaste skiing area.  It may not be top of the line as far as ski areas go, as most of it is a bit too low there will be winters with very little snow. However, Port du Soleil has bet hard on lift supported mountain biking. Presently, it is easily the best downhill area in the Alps, with no less than 660 kilometres signposted mountaing bike trails, ten permanent downhill runs, bike support and wash spots, etc. In July Morzine is teeming with people on heavy downhill rigs.

 Our first ride we took the lifts up to Montagne de Séraussaix. Then, we went along a fire road to Avoriaz, a ski resort that was like a ghost town in late July. Returning to Morzine we followed a fine singletrack  traversing the slopes of a side valley via Col de la Croix des Combes. Approaching the main valley it turned into a steep switchbacked fire road.



Telésiège de Zore to Montagne de Séraussaix


Fine singletrack


Alpine meadows


Switchbacks down to Morzine

Our second day in Morzine we headed up to Le Plénay on the other side of Morzine. Then, we kept on relatively high altitude close to the watershed to Les Chavannes. There we went down to Les Gets on a really scary dowhill trail, took lift back up to Les Chavannes, and continued on a long winding singletrack to Lairon and Le Sinceneret and down to Les Gets again. Then, we took another lift up the north slope from Les Gets and returned  via  Le Mont Caly. It was a splendid day.



Téléphérique du Plénay


On the crest of Le Plénay










Mount Blanc


High riding


Down to Les Gets


Sospel

After a long drive from Morzine crossing inumeralbe passes on the Route des Grandes Alpes  we arrived in Sospel in Les Alpes Maritime. Sospel turend out to be a  small medieval town. We chose to stay in a camping place above.  If there were good bike shops we did not find them. However, the  local tourist office  supplied us with a decent map.

One day we did the Circuit du Pape. It is some 22 kilometres and has a total acent of 730 metre. The Circuit de Pape begins with a long climb on fire road to Col de Braus, followed by sweet singletrack on or close to the ridgeline to Baisse du Pappe, and then a long decent on singletrack with some really technical sections, rock gardens, switchbacks and baby heads, down to Sospel. Coming back down to Sospel we rounded off the day by going down to Menton by car for a swim.



Sweet singletrack









On the ridge towards Cold de Braus


Pure rock


Gnarly trail

Another day we did a trail known as Circuit des Maquisards.  It is a 20 km trail that goes around a Mont Razet climbing some 800 metres. Most of the ascent is made on fire road that one climbs to a spot called Baisse de Scuvion, close to the summit of Mont Razet. Then one continues on rather technical singletrack, short stretches of hike-a-bike, rounding the southern spurs of Mont Razet to Pierre Pointue. There are some staggering views of the Mediterranean. Turning north again one passes some ancient fortifications. Then the trails heads down through the forest passing Col de Roulabre and Col du Razet. Great fun, with some really technical bits.









Pierre Pointue


Heading down through the woods



Technical section