Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Cycling in the Alps Day 5. (Quite Cols)

Cycling in the Alps day 5
It was the last day of the trip and with no sign yet of an ultimate croissant or a good mountain top cafe I felt a new approach was needed. Therefore we left the cycling Mecca of Alpe d’Huez and headed the other way to quieter Cols. As a treat I promised Andrew it would an easy day for our final ride although after I told him that it was over 60 miles and nearly 2000m of climbing he felt we had different definitions for easy.

There was no time to check the dictionary as if the ultimate croissant was to be found today we had to get over the first climb and to the target bakery by midday before it shut. Therefore I still had the challenge of once again crowbarring Andrew away from his petit dejeuner and morning tea drinking routine.

After Andrews 3rd cup of tea I eventually got us on the road with pedals down at an outrageous 9:35!
At the start of today's first Col
It was a similar start to yesterday with a short ride to the start of the Col meaning anyone who had had a long and leisurely breakfast might struggle on the digestive front once climbing started.
We were soon on to the first climb of the day
As we set off, and were soon separated, I was passed by a very speedy bloke who told me in English that he was going to do some efforts? I had no idea why he told me this. But then I was caught up by a young chap in Wales cycling shorts. He explained they were part of a group of 17 riding from here to Ventoux on a trip. His mate was a very good cyclist who had gone up Alpe d’huez in 47 mins yesterday which is only 10 mins short of the all time record. He was using the trip for training. Not that I’m competitive but I decided that no one else in their group was coming passed and rode up with my new Welsh friend. Apparently he is part of the Welsh U23 cycle squad and about to go to university so we went quite fast.
Trying to get away from the group that had caught us up
I was obviously pleased with my achievement although his gears were set up for flatter road racing and I couldn’t have got up on his bike. I suspect with the right gears he would have been off into the sunset.
At the top of the first climb
As I had got to the top quicker than planned (the 6294th fastest ever in fact, according to Strava) then I didn’t fancy a long wait so texted Andrew to say I would meet him at the bakery while I took a leisurely ride down with the views still restricted by the low clouds and mist.
There was lots of cloud about today
Much to my surprise the Boulangerie du Entraigues was actually open and had croissants available. 
Outside todays bakery stop
As Andrew hadn’t arrived yet then there was no one to do the French speaking but using the gift of pigeon French I established that they only sold coffee and no tea or hot chocolate, so as a non coffee drinker I was stuffed on the hot drink front. The croissant, however, was the best of the week as it looked the most French, however it still didn’t score as well as the best In the Pyrenees. When Andrew arrived he was able to report that the coffee was pretty average too so not the great cafe find I was after either (and it wasn't up a mountain).
First refreshment stop of the day
The sun was now out and we had the most gentle section of riding we had had for several days as we were either on a slight up or down so kept together for some time for once. The scenery was still tip top although not as dramatic as the high climbs of yesterday.
Despite lack of height there were still nice views available
We then hit our final step section of the week giving you the last change to play where’s Andrew?
Once again Andrew was nowhere to be seen
Once at the top it was a sad moment as I got my final summit top photo of the week.
Top of the final climb of the week
Morte was another deserted ski resort so it was no surprise that the target mountain cafe was shut. As by now we had learned this was likely we ate the emergency cheese baguette we made from leftover breakfast which felt a much more French thing to do.
Eating our emergency lunch
The final descent was another good one on wide roads with some good hairpins. It felt the most like those you see on the telly although none of the riders ever seem to stop to take photos.
Great views on the descent
Once down there was a disappointing section along the main road before a final treat of off-road cycle path along the river with more fabulous views.
Nice finale along cycle track by the river
Having survived all day on a croissant and half a cheese baguette I needed some refuelling so it was straight to the Boulangerie where I discovered it was the other branch of the one we found open at the top of Alpe d’Huez yesterday.
Time for refuelling
Although bizarrely the croissant scored much better than the one up the mountain, not that that was difficult.

Back at the apartment tea was drank, pastries eaten and bikes packed in boxes.
My bike was put back in it's box
But after a weeks cycling what have we learnt?
1. Croissants are better in the Pyrenees than the Alps
2. Mountain top cafes are shut by the end of September so organise any trips in search of them during the summer season.
3. You can ride up 3 category 1 Cols in a day on just 3 gels and 2 energy bars as long as you eat the contents of the local bakery straight afterwards.
4. Rides to ski resorts are not as satisfying as rides to the top of deserted cols
5. The best cols, for an enjoyable and scenic climb, are probably not the famous TdF ones
6. The best cycling guests don’t like a leisurely breakfast

Sadly my search for the ultimate croissant still goes on and I have not added to my list of good mountain top cafes but despite this we both agreed it had been an excellent trip for actual cycling and next year my quest will continue.

Todays Route

Profile



Cafe ratings
Cafe
Drinks
Food
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Rating
Col Du Vars
6
7
7.1
6.7
Chez Barulo
7
6.5
5
6.17
Café de Lac
6
6.8
7
6.60
Le Fournil Savinois
5.5
8.1
7.2
6.93
Auberge Roche Grande
6
0
7.1
6.55
Salazard, Alpe d’Huez 
5.6
6.8
5
5.80
Boulangerie Du Entraigues
6
8
6
6.67

Croissants
Cafe/bakery
Freshness 
Frenchness 
Flavour 
Rating
Luton Pret
4.5
5
10
19.5
La Marandiere, Barcelonnette
7.2
5.5
15
27.7
Café du Vars
5.8
5.7
14.t
26
Le Fournil Savinois 
8.1
7.1
16.8
32
Chalet la Cachette
6
8
14
28
Salazard, Alpe d’Huez 
6
7
13
26

Boulangerie Du Entraigues
7
8.9
16
31
Salazard, Bourg-d’Oisans 
7
6
16.5
29.5




Trip statistics
Route
Miles
Average Mph
Time on Bike
Metres climbed
Col Vars
76.9
12.3
6:15
2168
Tour du Lac Serre Poncon
72.6
13.1
5:33
1748
Three Cols from Barcelonnette
77.5
10.2
7:36
3240
Alpe D’Huez
44.6
9.48
4:42
2107
Quiet Cols recovery
61.7
12.2
5:02
1882
Totals
333.4
11.44
29:08
11,145

No comments:

Post a comment