Two Peaks Late Summer Loop
After I tried to do this loop in mid June only to have to cut it short due to a broken bottom bracket, I returned to the area today to climb both the Mont Tendre as well as the Dent de Vaulion. It was a little chillier this time, but I prefer it that way. My sleeveless vest was enough protection from the winds that usually howl across the mountain peaks. Heading into the first climb, I made a little error and ended up hiking a short abandoned trail. It looked fine at first, the trail had a name plate and looked a little over-grown, but soon disappeared into nothing but forest. I climbed through it with the bike on my shoulder and was quickly back on the right track. Near the top of the Mont Tendre I joined up with a local rider and rode with him for a short stretch. After eating a fruit bar on the mountain peak, I hit the descent on the backside to head towards the Col du Mollendruz. It’s a fun, bit technical trail that was made more difficult by a humid and sometimes muddy ground.
Once at the mountain pass of the Mollendruz, I wanted to ride towards Chalet Dernier only to be stopped by a farmer at the Pré de Joux. He handed me a map and indicated the the Canton of Vaud had decided to close the whole area off, no biking permitted. So instead of staying on the signed hiking trails, I tried to cut across to Vaulion on paved mountain roads. I climbed to La Mâche also on pavement and was for once happy to be on such a surface. It was pretty steep. The hard pavement under the rubber kept me pedaling at least. Once the pavement ended, I was back on trails, rideable for a bit more than the first half, all hiking for the remaining stretch to the top of the Dent de Vaulion. This is one heck of a busy mountain as a paved road leads all the way up to a restaurant near the peak. Descending from the top I had to slalom around folks who walked the 400 meters from the parking lot to the peak in flip-flops, no kidding.
As soon as I got off the paved road and back onto the hiking trail, I had to share it with only few real hikers. The trail’s a fun descent full of rocks and roots. Most of it was dry, but a few wet spots were a little sketchy. From Pétra Félix, I wanted to take sort of a straight shot to Châtel. My old map printed in the early 90ies was missing some trails, so I ended up taking a wrong turn once. Ultimately, I ended up somewhere unplanned and discovered a nice, narrow singletrack. I couldn’t pass up on this one and added a small extra loop. From Châtel I hopped onto the cool downhill to Montricher, this time not missing the turn I didn’t notice the last time. The trail has a whole bunch of difficult, ultra-steep passages. Being alone, I didn’t take big risks and got off my bike a few times. This is a great technical descent. Last time I had to ride it with a seized bottom bracket, this time I was able to have fun with the terrain.
|Distance:||56.4 km (35.1 miles)|
|Elevation:||2’268 m (7’440 feet)|
|Speed (avg/max):||12.4/50.0 kph (7.7/31.1 mph)|