After surviving the divine madness that is Col de Mont Cenis and descending into the Lanslebourg valley, I turned Harley’s front wheel right and headed for the daddy of them all, Col De L’Iseran. At 2,770 metres (9,088 ft)) this is the highest paved pass in the Alps, it beats Stelvio by 13 metres, size does matter! It is situated in the department of Savoie and is crossed by the Wonderful D902. The pass is part of the Route des Grandes Alpes. It connects the valley of the Isère (Tarentaise) and the valley of the Arc River (Maurienne) between Val-d’Isère in the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc in the south.
Road conditions were excellent, dry, hot and with little traffic. I gave Harley her head once we had left the limits of Lanslebourg village. There is a great little climb up to Col de la Madeleine but the real work starts eight miles later at Bonneval where you exit the village on a gentle hairpin left and go straight up….and up…and up! It’s bloody fantastic and lasts for over 18 kilometres! There is every sort of bend that you can imagine, very little in the way of edge barriers and a straight down drop if you get it wrong! Last time I came up here we got caught in a thunderstorm, it’s waaaay back in the blog if you want to look for it. So this was our unfinished business….to see the place on a decent day, well actually to see it at all, cos last time I could see nothing! Et voilà! Le top! Did I tell you I love this bike? …..and these mountains! Barriers? On the way down we looked back on where we had been, you can just make out the road crossing halfway up the mountainside! Bends? Bien sûr, beaucoup des virages magnifiques!
… and you wonder why I get so knackered?!?!?!?
“I need a shot of salvation baby, once in a while!”