View from Nendaz of the shoulder we cycled round and the Les Diablerets range
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title. Note the second route is one we have since found to be the best trail to take for this cycle
So when today dawned with bright blue skies we decided to get on our bikes. My achilles tendon is just about recovered but I did not want to ‘put it back’ by hiking on it. We wanted to explore a new route, going down to Iserables, opposite La Tzoumaz (which we cycled to last Monday) then on to Les Condemines before the long, and as we discovered very steep, climb back to Nendaz.
The first part of the ride for about 2km involves climbing on a reasonable gradient for about 100 m, it was then downhill for the next 7km taking us into Iserables. In places the road was not in the best condition (patchy repairs) and it was narrow with some sharp bends as we got closer to Iserables meaning we had to keep our speed down and ride cautiously. It was however a lovely route going down the side of the La Fare river valley which splits the side of the mountain, La Tzoumaz on one side and Iserables on the other.
We were amazed when we got into Iserables that anyone had built a (small) town on the steep slopes of the mountain, buildings clinging onto the slopes with sections overhanging! There is a cable car to connect the village to the valley floor below at Riddes, which makes it much quicker than the road route. Anyway it is a beautiful old Swiss town full of wooden buildings, allotments, old barns, kids playing ball on the road. We found a cafe near the cable car station and had a slice of apricot tart for our mid morning snack.
We had two choices, go back the way we had come (somewhat daunting) or take the country road round the side of the mountain to Nendaz. This involved going about 200m through a tunnel. We were very happy when we got there to see it had lights as we did not have bike lights with us. Must get some as we are not always so lucky. The first section of the route to Les Condemines was fairly flat and it was lovely coming into the village seeing all the apricot trees laden with fruit (I did sample one). We also saw a mural on the side of a house depicting a tranquil woodland scene (except for the wolf spying on the deer!) Took a photo but as it was in shadow not so easy to see the detail.
From this point on the road got steeper, managed a fair way up but then resorted to pushing. At one stage the gradient was over 45′ far too steep for me to cycle, my calves even ached pushing! Glad when we got to a flatter section and after a bit more up had a lovely downhill ride back to the apartment. Have both agreed we will select a different route to get to Les Condemines in future with a shallower gradient as this route would not be much fun going down either. But that is the beauty of exploring new areas, some bits are great and other bits can be a bit of a slog!!!!