Alps Challenge, September 2006 − Travels − Captain Tom

Alps Challenge, September 2006

The Alps Challenge

100 passes in 6 days. Quite exhausting but a lot of driving fun. In total with journey to/from the Alps I did 3670 miles in 10 days of which 1600 miles were part of the Alps Challenge. We had fun every day and weather was gorgeous. Sunny and warm all the time and no rain.

The Challenge

Motorrad-Actionteam organizes the Alps Challenge for some years now.

The challenge is short in words but quite ambitious
100 Alps passes in 6 days.
This is the aim. Action-Team books all the hotels and prepares the routes. We drive in small groups. The guide rides with the groups and takes care of any issues. And there is a driver with a van who can give support like a repair or towing a bike if needed
Our guide was Marcellus (left) and the man in the van was Holger.
Riders get a route briefing in the evening and a roadbook which they have to hand in in the evening of the following day. The roadbook contains detailed driving instructions.
Target area are the French Alps between Lac Leman and Mediterranean Sea
I have accepted the challenge on 2 September 2006 and went to Champery in Switzerland.
I met there 30 other participants and my two riding buddies Thomas (middle) and Frank (right) from Schwedt
We did the tour together. We were lucky to being very comaptible with regards to riding skills and preferences. We had a great week together.
One should not underestimate the Alps Challenge. Daily distances are between 350 and 500 km (220 to 310 miles) and this is quite much for the tiny, steep and winding roads in the Alps. Some participants suffered. We had 8 crashs within 31 riders. But fortunately nothing serious. Except for examinations nobody had to got to a hospital.
Find here a list of passes Thomas, Frank and I went over during this week. The list can differ from other riders as there were always optional parts and shortcuts.
Click here for a list of passes

Accordion /reisen/2006/2006_09_alpen/01_alpenchallenge

Close list
Day 1

Journey from Berlin to Schwabmünchen via country roads. 721 km (448 miles).

Day 2

Schwabmünchen - Champery 553 km (343 miles)

Wolfgang escorts me to Bodensee lake. We take the ferry to Konstanz. From there I take the Autobahn towards Champery. I go over Sustenpass in between.
Bodensee ferry
Wolfgang has the overview
Steingletscher (stone glacier) on Sustenpass. It is not sunny yet but dry
Day 3

Champery - Aix-les-Bains 440 km (273 miles)

I go with Frank and Thomas over very tiny passes along Lac Leman towards Lac du Bourget. Roads become sometimes rather dirt roads, elevation does not exceed 1000 m (3200 ft) and you can barely recognized the passes.
Break on Col du Feu
Last view to Lac Leman
Day 4

Aix-les-Bains - Chichilianne 440 km (343 miles)

Today we include a little optional leg into our tour
Frank is ready
Gorgeous view from Mont du Chat to Lac du Bourget. There is still some fog in the mountains in the morning.
Chichilianne welcomes us with brilliant weather. We have nice accomodation in an old castle and a very good dinner
View from the village to Mt. Auguille (2086 m, 6785 ft)
Tom, Thomas, Frank having a well deserved beer after the tour
Marcellus and Holger are the last arrivers. They had a lot of work this day.
Day 5

Chichilianne - Le Sauze 474 km (294 miles)

Last view to Mt. Auguille
Break on Col de la Haute Beaume (1268 m, 3504 ft) after super bumpy and narrow roads
Nice pass Col du Noyer but getting there is rather highway like boring
At about noon we see the reservoir of Lac de Serre-Poncon with brilliant views. We don't know yet that it will get even better
Thomas enjoys the view from col de Fontbelle
Almost through we decide for a little extra loop. The roadbook says "short but very demanding". Right. But the reward is a phantastic view over Lac de Serre-Poncon from Col de Pontis
Day 6

Loop from Le Sauze 451 km (280 miles)

One tour is declared as must have. We do a part of it. Grand Canyon du Verdon is an amazing piece of nature. River Verdon has cut a deep canyon into the lime rock. A must see indeed.
The gorge
We were there
More views into the gorge
Then we approach the most southern point of the tour. Street signs say 20 km (12 miles) to Nice and we see fog over the Mediterranean Sea
In the evening we get over another pass with brilliant views: Col des Champs
Day 7

Le Sauze - Valloire 354 km (220 miles)

The highlight of the tour and litteraly the climax. All passes have more than 2000 m (6500 ft) of elevation and in the very beginning we go over Col de la Bonette and the point La Bonette which is the highest paved road in the alps. 2802 m (9193 ft) of elevation
This is the elevation and speed profile of the day
La Bonette. We are on the summit. 2802 m (9193 ft).
Break on Col de la Lombarde (2350 m, 7710 ft)
On Colle dei Morti (2481 m, 8140 ft) we get surprised by a Marco Pantani memorial
On Col Agnel (2744 m, 9003 ft) Frank cannot decide between France and Italy
Views from Col Agnel
View on Col d'Izoard (2360 m, 7743 ft)
We all were on Col du Galibier (2645 m, 8878 ft)
Thomas andFrank
The evening in Valloire. The group from Hamburg has got a beer already
The last riders arrive. Holger arrives with the van.
Day 8

Valloire - Champery 437 km (271 miles)

The view-wise most beautiful pass is on today's list. Col du Pré. I like the view deep into the valley
View to reservoir Lac de Roselend
Day 9

Champery - Schwabmünchen 625 km (388 miles)

I meet Wolfang and another rider in Watwil in Switzerland. Together we make three extra passes: Furkajoch, Riedbergpass and Oberjoch
View from Furkajoch
Day 10

Schwabmünchen - Berlin 720 km (447 miles)

Riding home as usual. Wolfgang and Irmgard escort me to Sulzbach-Rosenberg
What else?

The tires are toast. Not surprising after 6000 km (3730 miles). But usually I do not wear then so much to the edge. The Michelin man is almost gone. Something I usually do on Nürburgring race track only.
Switzerland is the country of a small moneygrubbing mountain tribe. Autobahn toll is only available for a full year and is 40 CHF.
Speeding is extremely expensive. After hours of moving slowly through village after village I lost my temper for a moment and promptly got caught. 73 kmph in a 50 zone: 400 CHF fine plus 100 CHF administration fee. 500 CHF for something which cost about 40 EUR in Germany. Instant pay or they take your bike. They accept credit cards. I will not go there any time soon again.