Wednesday, 10 July 2013

T10/11: Annecy — heaven on a stick

This place is stunningly breathtaking. My first thought after summitting Semnoz and seeing the impossibly bright blue water of Lake Annecy was that I will be back here with Jo. I hadn't even gotten to the town, which in my opinion, kicks Paris' butt in terms of, well...nearly everything. Just a warning: the photos aren't even close to capturing the magnificence. 

Home to a huge market in the city, Annecy is full of canals, winding stone streets, a castle, the imperial palace, cathedrals, boutique shops and a beautiful park by the lake. The old city has a backdrop of soaring mountains that touch amazing cloud formations. Paragliders fill the air and boats gently rock on the crystal clear fresh water lake. Restaurants, bars, fresh produce, cherries, pastries, French cuisine at its finest, street entertainment, and warm evenings with spectacularly lit ancient architecture = ROMANCE of a grand proportion. 

And I don't know what Annecy this is doing with its ice cream but holy cow - there's a party in my mouth and everyone is invited. Tonight I had a chocolat noir and it was unequivocally to die for. Rich, dark, lasting choclatey flavour but not too sweet - hellums YEAH! Last night we had a plate of charcuterie that was INSANE and that was followed by an enormous bowl of muscles with saffron, chorizo, peppers and onions - OH - MY - GOD! De-freakin-licsious in the most glutinous way possible. I all but had to roll my engorged stomach back to the hotel but my taste buds simply kept commanding me to enjoy. Sensational.

The ride over here from Chambrey was just another stunner but the cake went to today's ride around the lake. It had everything. Ascent of the Semnoz which will be the penultimate stage of the TdF100 for the pros. Coffee at the top with that mind blowing view of the lake. A delightful, super fast descent straight lining at 75kmh, followed by perhaps the most blissful, serene, curvy and effortless descent back down to the other side of the lake. It's so very hard describe. Flowy corners, not too fast, stunning views, no traffic, through little villages with the smell of fresh cut grass and barely a requirement to touch the brakes for about 10k. Then onto the bike path which was the old railway line. This stuff made Bright look ordinary and Canberra's bike path more closely resemble the worst pave section of the Hell of the North. Then the ascent of the very punchy (read some uphill hairpins at 14% and much of it above 10%) 9.5k Col de la Forclaz de Montmin to be greeted with perhaps THE BEST reward view so far from the southern end of the lake. I'm talking MENTAL. And as if it couldn't get any better, a descent back to Annecy with speeds of 85kmh on the smoothest fresh laid black top and straight into a pub to watch the last 50k of today's Tour stage. I'm emotionally drained just trying to recount it for you!!
Is it too obvious I'm keen, nay enamoured with this little slice of heaven?

Near the summit of Semnoz from Chambrey

Another Col toasted. I gave it some stick with 5k to go and the form is good!
The team has thinned out whilst we are "between" tours. 

I'm not alone...there's others like me!!

Tim: the new guy

See the transit ride here.
See the superb lake ride here.

Speaking of le Tour, Cav got a little caught up in a collision which quite frankly I thought - well that's sprinting. I mean, I've seen Tiffy shoulder charging through the tiniest of gaps trying to hold a wheel as the white line approaches - and that's just on a Friday morning bunch ride. Cav's line and bike rocking at 65kmh was certainly no worse than GT by a long stretch...and he's rockin it for the Tour de bloody France!!

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