Did a new route yesterday afternoon. Was another hot one so set out at about 15h00 and drove to the village of Villar-Saint-Pancrace which is just outside Briancon.
The plan was to drive a little way above the village (about 1,400m alt.) park up there then ride the 6km climb up to Le Mélezin, a hamlet at about 1,850m then shred the single tracks back down through the trees to the cars but a mixture of a wrong turn on the way up and just plain feeling up for it we decided to climb the extra 3km to Lac de l’Orceyrette which sits @ about 1,950m, nestled in between some 2,700m peaks, the highest of which is Pic de l’Aiguiller @ 2,725m alt.
And I gotta say it was well worth the 90min climb. It really is an amazing spot up there and further inspection on Google Earth today shows there’s what looks like some awesome singletrack hidden away in the pine forests – that I’ll be checking out next time ;)
There looks like there could be a whole heap of different trails to hit on the way back down from the lake but not knowing the area too well we stuck mainly to the fire roads with occasional excursions hitting the singletracks that cut through the trees (although due to the speed you pick up on the fire roads plenty were missed I’m sure). Once you get down to about 1,600m or so there’s some full on downhill trails to keep you on your toes. It’s like a criss-cross maze of downhill tracks and me leading the way I obviously took a wrong turn (again!) and we ended up about 75m alt. below the cars. So one more 0.75km(ish) climb and all-in-all a pretty tough 20km loop and it was to the bar for a well deserved pint or two…
EDIT – more research on Google Earth : it looks like the next time we continue past the lake and up about another (what looks like) 4km-5km and climb to Chalets de l’Alp which sits at over 2,200m alt. then it’s a descending traverse to Chalets de la Taure before rippin the trails through the pines all the way down to the bottom…happy days :)