FROM: TRAINING RUNS/THE REGENERATIVE POWER OF MOTORCYCLING BACK ROADSOur objective for the night, St. Véran, boasts of being the highest village in the Alps, and Rob has booked us at Le Château Renard, which naturally is the highest hotel in the village. The final ascent is by a tricky path, which must have a 25-degree rake and difficult turn included. It’s almost like the owners don’t want you to get there. St. Véran overflows with charm, its shops and homes rimming the vine of a road twisting up the mountain.

Clusters of small, rustic hotels and cafes dot the village. St. Véran is a remote, rugged ski resort in the winter months. Now, however, flowers enliven colorless wooden flower boxes, and a round wooden trough contains fresh, pure, cold water flowing continuously from a quartet of spigots mounted on four sides of a common post.