Thursday, 13 September 2018

Golden Rule Adventure Club

An entirely unofficial gathering of friends aiming to organise inspirational 
new adventures and properly celebrate them afterwards


Fabian Colincellara [President]
Jan Ulrichard [Secretary]
Heyddie Merckx [Club Captain]
Alberto Johntador [Treasurer]
Carlos Sastrae [Academy Captain]

Senior Members

Jacques Andrewquetil 
Pedro Davegado

Academy Members

Alansandro Prattachi [Designer]
Stuart o'Graemedy [Kittymeister]
Dragon Ride - June 2017
Ireland 2015
Prudential London-Surrey 100, August 2015

Auvergne - September 2018

This year the annual 'seniors' section explored the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne, an area of extinct volcanos, with an abundance of crater lakes and glacial valleys, directly west of Lyons.
With superb weather, cools starts with bright, clear conditions and fantastic road surfaces, this was a trip to savour.
Five outings were enjoyed, with just one wet day forcing a much-needed rest mid-week.

Day One

A circuit taking us east to the fort town of Murol and the nearby Lac Chambon. This required an early ascent of the Col de la croix St Robert at 1451m, which afforded magnificent views very early in the day. A long lunch was enjoyed in Chambon-sur-Lac, and, suitably fortified by the local vin rosé, the team were able to tackle the Col de la croix Morand at 1401m, a tougher proposition in hot sunshine. Only 46km pedalled today, but with 1134m of ascent.

The team looking enthusiastic at the start in Le Mont Dore
Approach to the Col de la croix St Roberts

Typical Auvergne scenery - rich pastureland surrounded by volcanic peaks
Old boys on tour!

Doing what they do best...

The price to pay after a good lunch...
No pain, no gain...ascent of Col de la croix Morand

Day Two

A longer day this time, taking us on a southern circuit of the Puy de Sancy, a ride of 81km with 1622m of climbing. The route necessitated a repeat of the initial climb over the Col de lacroix St Robert, this time more readily dispatched, before turning south and west through Besse and the extensive pastures south of the Puy de Sancy (the highest mountain in the Massif Central, part of an ancient stratovolcano which has been inactive for about 220,000 years). 
Beautiful rolling roads through tiny, seemingly deserted villages and small towns like Bagnols, before turning north and east again to ascend into the forests to the immediate west of Le Mont Dore.

Alberto looking strong on the first climb of the day
West of Besse
Puy de Sancy from the south west
An area rich in cheese-making: St Nectaire, Cantal and Bleu d'Auvergne
Heading east, back to Le Mont Dore

Day Three

Heading north and then north-east, we took a circular route towards the lake town of Aydat, covering 78km and climbing 1567m – a tough day in the saddle with lots of false flats and a final challenge, reversing the climb of Col de la croix St Robert. An early effort from the town brought us over the Col de Guéry at 1268m and to a magnificent viewpoint to the eroded volcanic outcrops of the Roches Tuilére and Sanadoire. 
A fabulous descent north-eastwards then took us in to the rolling, empty countryside around Aydat, south through the Gorges de la Monne, and then a series of long, tiring stretches eastwards brought us to a much-needed lunch spot in the village of Le-Vernet-Sainte-Marguerite.
After lunch, a descent back towards Chambon-sur-Lac took us to the start of the long haul back up to the Col de la croix St Robert. A tough climb after a good day of riding, followed by a tricky descent back through the woods to Le Mont Dore.

Alberto, Heyddie and Jan looking very pleased with themselves at the viewpoint to Roches Tuilére and Sanadoire
View north to Orcival
Coffee stop at the very pleasant Café du Lac near Servières
Distant view to the Puy de Dôme
A long haul eastwards, back to the Puy du Sancy massif
Climbing this col again, from the opposite direction. Tough with tired legs!
View to Lac Cambon
Nearly there Alberto!

Day Four: a wet day, so plenty of rest and overindulgence. A particularly fine dinner at the Auberge La Golmotte, a short taxi ride north of Le Mont Dore.
Our hotel in Le Mont Dore, the Grand Hotel. 3* but with great staff and good breakfasts
R& and rehydration!
Day Five

A cool start, taking us south-west through the forests above Le Mont Dore, before a long descent to La Tour d'Auvegrne, and through beautiful rolling countryside into the Haut Dordogne. And then the real work started...steep descents to cross a number of river valleys, each with a long climb out of the valley before doing it all over again, ultimately crossing the upper reaches of the Dordogne river. 
A good work out for all, before an eastward return through the anthracite mining town of Messeix, with rollers all the way back to the spa town of La Bourboule, and the final long climb back up to Le Mont Dore. In all, a ride of 73km and total ascent of 1426m.

Emerging from the forest above Le Mont Dore
Into the Haut Dordogne
One climb after another! Jan putting on a brave face...

Turning east from Messeix

La Bourboule
Day Six

Our final day, with a great ride back over the Col de Guéry, on wide sweeping roads to reach Randanne, before joining the wonderful Route de Puys. This wide, empty road tracks north-east through a series of volcanic cones, not far from Clermont Ferrand, and is a delight. Then north through some attractive commuter villages, before turning east to see the mighty Puy de Dôme, a large lava dome created by an eruption some 10,700 years ago. We climbed the Col de Ceyssat, 1078m, at the base of the Puy de Dôme, before returning south, initially on very narrow lanes. On wider roads we then climbed to the charming village of Orcival, last visited by Fabian with his good lady, pregnant with Marianna, in 1980. A good lunch was enjoyed.
Turning back to base on wide, empty roads, we enjoyed far reaching views north and east before crossing back over the Col de Guéry to Le Mont Dore. With a total of 79km and an ascent of 1557m, this was a perfect day to conclude our little adventure.

Lac de Guéry
Route de Puys
Puy de Dôme
Lunch stop in Orcival
North of Orcival, looking back to the Puy de Dôme