Leaving Lans-en-Vercors, the sun finally showed through the clouds once and for all. American participant Ryan Gillespie was thrilled to get back on the road along his peers, riding on his new solar bike made in Grenoble. One group chose the direction of the Combe de Savoie towards Albertville and the Beaufort Massif.
Others chose to climb the Croix de Fer Pass until the Maurienne Valley, followed by the Col de L’Iseran, highest paved pass of Europe with 2770 meters.
The Briton duo Michel and Louis rode 271 km on this leg, going first through the Iseran on the evening July 13. In order not to rest too much, they decided to get at least to te-Foy en Tarentaise the following morning, accumulating over 6000 meters elevation on this stage.
Most of the other participants rested one night in Bessans or Termignon and kept their forces and their Watts for the next day. For many, it was a first experience in high mountain ranges but they all managed to cross the pass without any issues, although some did push their machine when their technical choices were not perfectly adapted to slope, and others had to take several breaks to rest both the engine and the rider.
The Iseran mountain landscapes left a strong impression on their minds, to the extend that some of those arriving from the other side decided to climb the pass anyways, just for the kicks…
At the Salon du véhicule électrique et hybride in Val d’Isère, we had an opportunity to explain our philosophy and introduce our solar bike rally to a curious and enthusiastic crowd. The solar bikes paraded until their stand on the convention led by Arno Liégeon, former 2015 Milan-Antalya-Milan Sun Trip, riding a cargo bike blasting music. He was not the only Sun Trip Pioneer present : champion Bernard Cauquil and dean Adalberto Cravero surprised the participants by joining us. Many Sun Trip fans expressed a desire to take part in the 2018 Lyon-Canton Sun Trip Edition and were studying scrupulously the machines exhibited, questioning our crew on technical issues. It was the only resting day on this edition and we all took this opportunity to recharge our batteries !
Due to technical issues some participants decided not to pursue further their adventure. Heavily charged and riding a bike designed for flat land, Belgian participant Christian Noiret preferred enjoying the landscapes of Chautâgne, cycling along the Rhône river. Alain Ietter joined us in Lans-en-Vercors but already had to call it quits. A design defect twisted the material holding his engine onto the bike – he should have installed a torque arm! Romain des Bois and Jean-Antoine from 1001 Piles Batteries also decided to go back home to Grenoble as their engine, solar panels and trailer successively failed. Note that the batteries were still good! For the Belgian duo Luc & Marleen, the adventure could also have ended there, but the Vécolo Association saved the day by providing them with an eBike as Marleen’s one had issue with the hub engine wheel. Since Vecolo is a relay team, their next rider managed to bring another ebike for her to carry on with the trip. Bravo!
As for the Photo Challenge, Christophe Dugué lost his title for the stage to the youngest riders on the Sun Trip Tour. KU Leuven Team’s funny pictures seduced our audience and they made it clear that they were on for the Adventure’s badge…
To be continued!