Texte: Emile Mercier
Images: Mimi Maurice - Serre Chevalier
Serre Chevalier is a valley that seems to be at the end of the earth. To get there you have to cross Grenoble, climb the Vallée de l'Oisans, pass La Meije mountain on the right and finally get over the Lautaret hill before making it to this beautiful descending pathway which leads to Monetier. The valley is beautiful, with intense lighting and a deep blue sky.
I was welcomed by Guillaume and Benjamin Melquiond and Patrick Gelato, all exceptional skiers and excellent cyclists.
When Guillaume, who runs the most incredible ski shop in the region, approached me to organise an event to launch the Mercier project and products, I immediately accepted. We have known each other for a long time and share not only the same passions but the same values.
Saturday morning began in front of the Melquiond Sports shop. A small group of a dozen people met to head in the direction of the Clarée valley. A few kilometres after Briançon, we left the road to Montgenèvre to enter into the valley. The slope was gentle as the road follows the Clarée river, after which the valley is named. We arrived at Névanche for a short break in front of the fountain before tackling the climb to the Laval Refuge.
The road is closed to cars and the climb is quite pleasant albeit steep. After a short stop at the summit, where we admired the slopes of Galibier, we headed back down and turned east to climb the Echelle hill which is only another 3 kilometres.
We continued a few kilometres along the summit before turning around to rejoin Chantermerle seamlessly after 80 kilometres and more than 1300m climbed.
As the day drew to a close, we had the great pleasure of welcoming a small group of 30 people, all cycling addicts. Guillaume and I spoke of our respective histories, our parents and our projects. His father, Jules, was also there, alive and well and still skiing and hunting very well in spite of his age.
Everyone admired the products, especially the new green colours and the new additions to the line including the gilet and rain jacket, which have won over all their wearers.
The friendly meeting was brought to an end around a friendly drink. I hope to have the pleasure of organising more meetings such as this one, with the same convivial spirit and joy of sharing the pleasure we take in developing our collections and satisfying the most demanding of cyclists.