Round three of the XC World Cup stops in the Lorraine region of France, in the Commune de La Bresse tucked up in the northeast corner of the country. This region is known for its Bresse breed of chicken and a country Blue Cheese. La Bresse is just a four hour drive from Albstadt, Germany. Being so close to the last round, we came in Monday evening and had a bit of time to kill before the work got underway. When we arrived, the weather was cold and gloomy. Instead of developing a severe case of cabin fever, or holing up in a cafe to consume Wi-Fi all day, we took to the hills with camera in hand. This is what we found. La Bresse is not only home to what may be the best of the World Cup XC tracks, but also excellent trail riding and some fine eats. Here are 36 hours in photos around La Bresse.
Welcome to Commune de La Bresse.
It was cloudy and wet when we pull into to town, but the forecast looks brighter in the coming days.
Blueberry blossoms and daffodils up in the alpine.
A party of French hikers heading out into the mists.
Mid mountain pine forests give way to the gnarled birches just before the alpine zone.
A rainy day hike proved to be useful scouting for the next day's ride.
La Bresse has some beautiful woods. The twisted trees of the alpine are enchanting when cloaked in fog.
Mid point refuge stop. Just long enough to refuel and kind of dry out.
Solace in the back country
Matt Opperman and Alvaro Dominguez enjoying a back country lunch and a break from the rain.
Lots of protein and very packable. Sardines make a good lunch during a full day of hiking.
The woods of La Bresse are bubbling with spring run-off.
The view across the lake from the refuge hut.
After a long day out in the rain, a hearty country meal is the perfect way to warm up.
Baguette dispenser? Yes. If you're home late from tending the herd and miss the bakery, this bad boy has you covered after hours.
Sausages, sausages, sausages. This town is a carnivore's heaven.
Old timer out on the prowl.
Love those chilly mountain streams.
With an extra day here in La Bresse, and none of my normal media squid comrades around, I went out and had my own media squid recce. The trails here are a blast.
Found out the views we couldn't see the day before were quite nice indeed.
Slip sliding down the lovely Le Bresse single track.
It's all tile rooftops in La Bresse. What needs to be investigated is whether or not this is actually a Citroen repair shop or just a super-fan's house.
The action starts tomorrow here at the holy grail of XC tracks. This one is going to be a beauty.