CLIMB: LA CORNICHE (570M)
Winter miles along Lake Geneva
This ride is part of our "Winter riding in the Alps" collection. To learn more about it, read this story on the blog.
When we want to do a longer ride on a cold and sunny day, we head towards Lake Geneva. In the Rhone valley, the hours of sun are limited because of the high mountains on each side. As a result, it's freezing and the farm roads we like to ride on can be icy. Not the best conditions to get base miles in.
It's a different story around the lake. As soon as we get to Villeneuve, the temperature raises by a few degrees. Why? The surface water of the lake rarely drops below 7°C, which is enough to warm the surrounding air on cold days.
Icy roads in the Rhone valley: not fun
The first few kilometers along the lake take us through a fairly urbanised area. There is some traffic but it's OK as long as we avoid peak hours. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to two stars: first, Freddie Mercury, who recorded several albums with Queen in Montreux. And then Charlie Chaplin, who lived the last 25 years of his life near Vevey. Their statue stands on the lakeside and they won't complain if you take a selfie with them.
It gets even warmer as we leave Vevey and enter the Lavaux vineyards. The locals say it's because of the "three suns": the direct sunlight, the reflection of the sun on the waters of Lake Geneva and the heat radiated by the walls of the vineyards. It makes for excellent wine, and it warms up the cyclists in winter.
Soaking up the three suns in the Lavaux vineyards
I grew up nearby and this is where I started to ride my bike when I was 12. Since then, I must have done the Corniche more than 1000 times. This mellow climb to the village of Chexbres is great for training and offers beautiful views on the lake, the vineyards and the Alps in the background. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its unique terraced vineyards. I'll never get tired of this place.
Chexbres is a good place to stop for coffee and pastries. There's no more climbing and it's time to refuel before heading back towards the cold Rhone valley.
Refueling in style
TIPS TO STAY WARM
On such days, our go-to piece of kit is the Velocio Alpha Merino Air Jacket. Polartec's Alpha Wool creates a layer of warm air inside the jacket, which Lillie calls her "happy place". With it, no need to take an extra layer for the downhills - the fully air tight outer layer protects us from the wind.
Enjoying the warmth of the Alpha Merino Air Jacket
And of course, we wear the Alpha Gloves. Built along the same principles as the jacket, they keep our hands warm for hours - an unprecedented luxury in the Swiss winter.
So much comfort requires a little bulk. A compromise we are willing to accept: when it's 8°C, you still fancy looking aero. When it's 2°C, you just want to be warm, and that's exactly what Velocio delivers.
The Alpha Gloves
The other items we wore included: Zero Cycling Cap, Thermal Bib Tight, Merino Mesh Long Sleeve Baselayer, Winter Collar, Winter Wool Socks and Zero+ Booties.
We are the champions
Chilling next to a giant fork
Back in the freezer
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