posted on Sunday, August 01, 2004


I left Chamonix at 9.00 under an auspicious blue sky and sun shining on the summit of Mont Blanc. The road for about 10km was flat and twisty along forests of pines and framed on its sides by stunning mountains raising steep to the sky. After the gentle start the road began to climb to the first challenge of the day, the Col des Montets at 1461m The road was not too busy with cars and it seems that cyclists have been taken into account as more often than not the road has a spacious side lane. At the top of this climb another great view, the rocky and crested tops of the Aiguilles Rouges really red on the midday sun. The descent to Chatelard was fast and enjoyable. Here is the border with Switzerland. I wasn't stopped by customs unlike all the cars, here's a tip for smugglers! The second climb began the Col de la Forclaz at 1526m. Tough climb with the weight I am carrying and at the top was a well deserved picnic on the grass as well as airing and drying sleeping bag and tent left humid by last night dew. After a long descent to Martigny I began a long flat ride along the wide Rhone Valley pushed by the wind until Sion the capital of Valais as well as my programmed stop for the day. Alas no camping was near town so after a few picture of its beautiful castle perched on a rocky hill I kept going for 15km more to Sierre. Today I met at least 7 or 8 bike tourers but all going the other way!