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TC!!!!!!!! this is all your fault.


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Carrying on where Donncha and TC left, tomorrow sees me heading to my first ever cycling trip to the Alps for 'Camp 1' of this:

 

http://www.colconquerors.com/camps.php

 

Fitted the bike with a dinner plate 27 cassette which looks very very odd. Got some fancy schmancy GP4000sII tryes, re-cabled, new chain, BB serviced and new tape and saddle. Can't say I'm in great shape as I've bunged on 4kgs since Nov so I'm currently at 82kg :shy:

 

Bike is packed and just have to fill my suitcase tonight and head to Geneva in the morning.

 

We're doing a load of the big cols, so i hope the snow line isn't too low that would prevent us passing over them. Weather is mixed and the advice from the guide is 'bring some of everything'.

 

Can't bloody wait, more to follow :smile1:

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Well we have arrived in Valmenier 1800. We are at 1600mtrs. Got here later than expected due to a late arriving flight from Scotland. There are four of us plus our hosts. A Danish guy that lives in SG, an English guy from Dubai and a Scottish guy from, err Scotland! They've all been here a few times before and they all look way handier (and thinner) than me.

 

I know the Alps are old hat for many, but just driving to our base I was awestruck by the sheer magnitude of the mountains, it's hard to see the sky sometimes! The base house is brilliant, very large with separate wings so everyone gets space and chill out time but is also very homely. Could not have asked for better. Bikes are built but riding today. Big brekkie tomorrow and we will see what the day brings.

 

For reference, we are about 9kms up the Telegraphe and off to the left. Couple of pics of 'base camp', what a view!

 

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Ok so first Day on the road. After a breakfast at base we then descended down the 9kms of Telegraphe into the town at the bottom, St Michel. From there we did a 6-7km blast across the valley floor to our first climb of the day. This was to Mont Denis, a 12km climb about 880mtrs (the total elevation is 1.6km but we started at 700mtrs). It was pretty steep at the start but got a bit easier.

 

The guys I am with pretty quickly dropped me. I've since found out that Dave the Scottish guy has placed at Duathlon Worlds AG, has come second at some ultra event and is a beast on the bike. John is tad slower than Dave, but not much and Michael the Danish guy is on track for a gold finish at Marmotte this. I'm seriously fcuked in this company. Our host Rob, is about 6'2 and weighs 13kgs less than me. All these guys have been here year on year and know exactly what they are doing in these huge mountains.

 

I on the other hand am in all sorts of pain. I got my way up the first climb, I have a 27 fitted but didn't use it, I figured using my bail out gear on the first climb of the first day was not a good start! Anyway at the top I asked how long they'd been waiting and got a very polite 'oh not that long', nice guys, but terrible liars haha.

 

Descended that climb, back across the valley floor and climbed the Col de Beau Plan but not all of it again due to where we started. This was another 12km climb and similar elevation as the first one. No such heroics with gear selection, straight into the 27 and that's where I stayed for the next 45 mins.

 

Grovelled to the top and had no time for pics because we descended back into St Michel before the cafe stopped serving at 1.30. We were all feeling it but my back was in serious agony. Demolished a Coke and a lasagne. The others were going to climb the Telegraphe up as far as the Valmenier turn off and then to base. But I was cooked so I went back in the van. Didn't sit well but in this company I will be riding my way out of the week rather than into it.

 

When I was coming back up in the van, Karen ( our host and Rob's wife) said I was doing well because the other guys are the fittest guys that they ever get on the camps. So that's just greaaaat! Lol

 

Plus I need to save some energy for tomorrow because in the morning we're loading up the van and heading to Brancion and are climbing the mighty Iozard, from both sides. I thinks it's 20km one side and 15 the other.

 

Say a prayer for me!

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... so I went back in the van. Didn't sit well but in this company I will be riding my way out of the week rather than into it.

 

 

 

Wise move Fatpom. Don't worry about what the other guys think as the Izoard double will be a big day in the saddle as is the rest of your week!

 

Don't be afraid of using the bail out gear. I had the same idea my first day in France on Alpe d'Huez... I had never needed anything bigger than a 25 but fitted a 29 for the trip and like you thought I would save it for later. That idea went out the window about 3km up Alpe d'Huez and went often into that gear the rest of the trip.

 

Looking forward to more photos! :)

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Thanks for the comments all :)

 

Dalai, I didn't put that very well. The other guys had no issue at all with me going in the van, what I meant was that it didn't sit very well with me but was the right choice on the day.

 

I'm just up drinking some water, then I'm back to bed. I think we are doing AdH on Tues but not sure yet. There is an event on Thurs/Fri called AdH Six or something where butters from Netherlands come over and ride it 6 times in a day or something, so we are keen to avoid that mayhem!

 

Everyone tells me that AdH is very hard until turn 16 and then it eases up a little?

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Ride back up to the accommodation wasn't a col, so save yourself for the ticks. :)

 

First couple of km on Alpe d'Huez are the most challenging IMO and corner 16 does mark the end of this section.

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Just remember for the TDF finish, continue past the finishing line banner which you reach on first entering Alpe d'Huez (this is the crono timing point) and continue another ~1500m to the finish towards the top of the village. Best to take note of the route through the village before you ride it as although signed it is easy to miss a turn... Enjoy!

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FP, you're staying really close to this little climb, the Lacet of Montvenier:

 

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If you head down off the Telegraphe and turn towards La Chambre on the way to Madeleine, the Lacets are about 5km before La Chambre tucked away on your right above a little town called Pontamafrey-Montpascal. They're a bit disguised but you can see if from the main valley road if you look hard. It's an alternative way to get to the Madeleine without going through La Chambre.

 

If you get the chance to do it, let me know and I'll tell you how to get to the point where you can take this pic. It's off road and takes a bit of bush bashing but worth the effort.

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Well today was pretty hard for a few reasons. We had to drive to Briancon which from where we are meant going over Galibier via Valloire. Holy shit that is a long long climb And that ramp up after the hairpin over the stream looks insanely steep! The run down the other side is also very long but it looks to me a bit less steep. I'm not sure if I'm glad I've seen it or not, it's really frightening in its size.

 

Anyway we arrived in Brancion and climbed to the summit over Izoard, the guys dropped me pretty quickly but I made no attempt to even stay with them really. The climb is 20kms long and about 1200mtrs of elevation(the summit is 2300mtrs I think), the sun was strong but so was the wind which made it tough as it ramps up in some places ( to about 12%). It was tough going but steady, it took me 1hr40 to summit. The guys were waiting at the 'Refuge Napolean ' which is a restaurant about 500mtrs before the summit, so once at the top I came back down to meet them. Demolished a decent lunch and we set off back over the summit and down the other side.

 

The descent down is pretty technical in some places and fairly straight in others but the wind was getting very fierce. I'm not exactly sure what the name of the place we descended to was but it's where the road joins a T junction for what looked like a fairly main road. We stopped and turned around and went back up. It was 14kms to the summit and according to Rob 'significantly harder' especially from the mood way point onwards.

 

The wind was a royal PITA and hampering my already snail like pace. Anyway I slogged on. There were lots of names painted on the road on this side and about 5km from the top I came across 'Aussie Corner' with signs saying ' go Cadel' and OGE, go Goss etc and one that said 'BG' but I couldn't think who that was, but rational thought was scarce commodity at this stage. The last 4kms were probably the worse and it had started to get cold with angry looking clouds.

 

Summitted the climb and pulled into the cafe again for a quick Coke and meet up with others. The climb took me just over 90 mins. So now we had a 20km descent and it had started to rain and the rain was cold. We didn't get soaked but were pretty glad when dropped below the snow line and it stopped. We hammered back to Briancon for warm clothes and cosy van.

 

On the way back towards Galibier it started to rain biblical proportions and the temp dropped 10 degs, by the time we were going back up Galibier it was hailing, we had to go over the top because the tunnel is shut for repairs, it was pretty hairy for a while. Down the other side back to Valloire and it was like a different day, dry, fairly sunny etc.

 

So today was pretty hard, 2400mtrs of climbing over 34kms, I think our total distance was 70kms. Hardest freakin 70kms I've ever done!

 

Tomorrow has to be flexible as we are not sure what this weather front will do. There is a plan to do AdH but I didn't really understand what it was. Something like: drive to the bottom of Col du Sorren, climb the 15kms which takes up to the top of AdH via another route, descend part way of AdH then turn and climb something or other and then descend 'the back way' to the bottom of AdH.and the climb AdH. Something like that?

 

But I'm not sure it will happen, this weather looks decidedly iffy. A decision will be made in the morning. Knackered now, we didn't get back until 7pm.

 

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Well done today FP! You would have descended to the junction of D902 with D947.

 

Hairpin over the stream is at Plan Lachat. Definitely save a bit for the this last stretch on the Galibier. :)

 

Col de Sarenne is a scenic little road that climbs the back way to Alpe d'Huez and is a little gem so hope you do get to ride it. Possible turn on the descent may be along Les Balcons d'Auris which is more of a traverse along the mountain side back towards the start of the Col de Sarenne. Though this doesn't have much climbing unless you head up to one of the small villages along the traverse. Another option could be a right turn through Villard Reculas and ride Col du Sabot... If the second option this plus Alpe d'Huez will be another big day! Hopefully it is the later as Col du Sabot was my favourite climb around Bourg d'Oisans.

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The weather has closed in quite a lot. It's not so bad where we are but we won't make it over Galibier in the van, so AdH is out today. Apparently we are driving to the bottom of Glandon, climbing that and then climbing Col du Madelaine, the van will follow as we may not be able to descend depending on cold/ visibility.

 

Going to be a 3000mts climbing day so they say. Farrk me sideways!

 

see you on the other side, if there's no report in 24hrs, send flowers to Yoosun. LOL.

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The phrase that came to mind during most of today was ' just fcuking shoot me in the head', and sprinkled with the occasional ' this is awesome'.

 

Loaded the van and headed to the valley the lies between the Glandon and Madelaine ( La Chambre I think). The Glandon is a 20 km climb with about 1400 mtrs of ascent. The guys told me it was a climb of two halves, and never has a description been so apt. The first 10 Kms passed pretty easily, the gradient was about 6% and the type of climb you could tap out all day. However after the half point things get trickier and with 7kms to go things get nasty with the average gradient at 10%, them with 4kms to go its downright masochistic, they are toughest 4kms I've done I reckon, the ramps are just insane.

 

I had a rough goal of 2 hrs and made that just by getting to the top in 1:57. The plan was to go over the top to the cafe just the other side, but it was shut, so the others were waiting for me in the van as it was bloody freezing at the top, but had been hot in the valley and pretty much all the way until the last 5kms. Just time for some quick shots before pulling on the rain jackets to keep warm for the descent, which was very nice once past the snow line and warmed up again. Unfortunately the other cafe that Rob had in mind half way down was not doing food so we went right into the valley again and managed to find a place that knocked up some baguettes for us.

 

All the while I had been going up Glandon I refused to look to my right as I knew that's where the Madelaine was and it's meant to be beast. So refuelled off we went again. Rob said he'd park the van half way up to check if everyone was ok ie, me!

 

No such gentle intro on the Madelaine, it has all sorts of ramps and gradients that make anyt rhythm virtually impossible. This was another 20km climb and about 1500 mtrs of ascent. The temps were getting bloody hot 24 deg and the wind seemed to be either in my face or non existent, so I was either slowed up or not cooled down, boo. With about 8 Kms done I was struggling and going so slow that the flies were landing on my handlebars! I reached Rob in the van and I can't tell you how much I wanted to climb in, everything hurt like a mofo. Rob said to think about the rest of the week and get in if I wanted. But I pushed on.

 

It got easier for a couple of Kms but then kicked up again, badly and stayed that way until the resort (forgotten the name), Rob was there making sure I took the right road and he said 'just 5 Kms to go', what he didn't say was that 5kms are the most soul destroying 'where's the fcuking top?' type of Kms that you'll come across with accumulated fatigue in your legs.

 

I eventually reached the top to the cheers of my buddies but it was freezing. The cafe was open so at least they were warm. When I started the Madelaine climb it was 2:50 pm and I had a stretch goal of reaching the top by 5.00pm but missed it by 7mins :(. I came in about 22mins behind the others, which I was surprised at. I didn't have the energy to descend back down, Rob said to me that with the speed I can get down a mountain the last thing I needed was any more descending training LOL. Michael also came down in the van.

 

Picked up the others at the bottom. On the way down you can see the magnitude of what you have climbed because the road is very ' ribbony' and you can see where you were and think 'holy shit, I rode up that!'

 

Today was tough, I was close to getting in the van or pulling over the side of the road in a weeping foetal position I can't tell you. Sorry TC but that climb of your will have to wait until next time.

 

Tomorrow is rest day and I need the recovery because right now I'm a broken broken man,,,,,

 

 

 

 

 

But pretty happy :)

 

Top of Glandon

 

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Top of Madelaine

 

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Rest day today and my legs don't feel quite as shelled as I thought they would. Taking it easy. Thought I'd go for a 20 min walk down to the stream that I can hear from bedroom window (I usually sleep with a fan on at home for white noise but listening to a stream is way better). I can also hear what I thought were cow bells at night but apparently they are for a few yaks that are on the mountain close to we are, by all accounts they aren't that friendly, so glad I haven't come across them.

 

Tomorrow is a mega day, ride from the house and descend Telegraphe, then climb back up Telegraphe, through Valloire on to the mighty Galibier and then (presuming I'm not dead) descending the other side to the T junction where the Galibier road meets the Col de Lauratret, lunch there and then back over the Galibier, and back home, which means climbing out of Valloire and descend the top 3 Kms of Telegraphe before turning for Valmenier. After the turn off to Valmenier and home is a section to be wary of because it's another few 100mtrs of ascent, so you think you done and dusted after the turn off but there's much work still be done. I haven't ridden that bit yet but looks like an effort!

 

Some random shots from this morning. Sorry but I don't have TC's flair for a good shot, did my best though :)

 

Oscar the dog next door.

 

 

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Is anybody reading this? ' cos these updates take forever LOL

You betcha. Don't wimp out, I'm hanging for the Galibier carnage story. I was looking forward to it over my cuppa tea in bed, now I'm off to read the SMH instead.

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Excellent :) it's 4am and I'm up drinking more water ( I think it's the altitude?). Meant be hot today but it's cloudy and I haven't seen any stars all night. It rained a lot yesterday. I suspect there will be more breakfast table decisions to make later? Stay tuned!

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Is anybody reading this? ' cos these updates take forever LOL

 

Yes, but most are probably too jealous to respond.

 

I dont like hills, Id probably stay at the accom enjoy the view and play with the dog! :lol:

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Yes, but most are probably too jealous to respond.

 

I dont like hills, Id probably stay at the accom enjoy the view and play with the dog! :lol:

 

 

I've just started reading. I'm not jealous though. 35 days 'til I depart for France. Staying in the Mulhouse area with a local family for the first couple of days and heading to one or two TDF stages. Then I meet my group in Grenoble on the 14th. Our warm up ride is Ad'H. Fun, fun, fun. Will be in Bourg d'Oisans 'til the 20th when we head to Vaison la Romaine for Mont Ventoux the next day. Unfortunately, I will then head to Paris for a couple of days and then home. Would love to have stayed and done the Pyrenees again, but just couldn't swing it this time around.

 

So keep up the updates FP. Sounds amazing and making me excited for my own adventure.

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The day is bright and sunny, here's the view from my bedroom window.

 

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I reckon we will be on for the Galibier mega ride, find out at 8am. I did find out that that turn off from the Telegraphe to our base is another 6kms of climbing and 200mtrs ascent, uuugh that will hurt. Dave helpfully told me yesterday, 'that's the worst bit' !

 

Stay tuned.

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Could be worse - they could make you do La Marmotte route back to your hotel.

No bloody fear.

 

OK, so Michael has gone back to SG, John has hurt his back and Dave is just as strong as ever. Rob has suggested that with a big day tomorrow planned it may be best if we alter the plan a bit. Dave and John will descend to the bottom of Telegraphe and start from there and if John can't carry on then he'll bail out back to base.

 

Rob and I will descend the 6kms to Telegraphe, turn left and climb the final 3kms then head to Galibier and do both sides then climb back out of Valloire and up to Valmenier. This will mean I miss the first few Kms of Telegraphe, but the speed these guys go they'd be waiting all day for me and Galibier both sides will be a more memorable ride than the bottom few Kms of Telegraphe, according to Rob.

 

I'm pretty comfortable with that, given the day we have planned tomorrow. The sun is out so hope to get some clear shots at the top, will leave in 30 mins, and tose a well worn quote ' I may be gone some time' .

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I'm alive, woohoo! Wow, what a day, don't even know where to begin. Set off and descended to the Telegraphe, John and Dave descended to the bottom, they were shivering like anything when they did as it was pretty cold. Rob and I turned left and climbed to the top of the Telegraphe, it really woke the legs up and they were complaining, loudly! But I felt ok so hopefully they would come better later. At the top of the climb we met 2 guys from the UK that had stayed with Rob before and were doing their own thing this year. They had a triathlete friend with them who had gone on ahead as apparently she was a mega climbing machine and on trying to get a spot on the GB team.

 

Descended to. Valloire and met up with the triathlete (Lucy), she was bloody tiny, even Andy Schleck could have beaten her in a fight. So we climbed out of Valloire all together towards the Galibier.

 

Now here's the surprising thing, when we went over in the van earlier in the week, that climb and those very long drags to get to Plan Lechat were quite benign and not very long, and I thought the ramp out of there over the river would break me. But what I found was that those long drags to Plan. Lechat, really, really take it out of you. Rob said this is the section that kills off many a Marmotte rider as they underestimate it because it doesn't look that difficult. It's about 7km of 8% grinding! a real energy burner.

 

Got to Plan Lechat and I was pretty tired I didn't really think about the ramp after, which turned out was not as abad as I thought. A few tougher sections to follow, but honestly, I felt pretty good and the sun was out and it was hot, and the views already were amazing. The other guys we picked up slowly went ahead. Rob powered up the road every now and then to get shots of me and I just tapped out some kind of rhythm.

 

The climb seemed to go on forever, and with about 5kms to go it has a nasty section for a couple of Kms. The view was just getting better and better and Rob said in the 5 yrs he's been living here he's seen Galibier like this just 3 or 4 times. We went past the Pantani memorial and made a note to get shots on the way down. As we got closer to the top the feeling was brilliant,you're riding in shirt sleeves with the sun shining and 8ft snow shelves both sides of you, it's pretty quiet and quite surreal. The final km is tough and with 500mtrs to go Rob said we should sprint to the top to catch a guy ahead of us. It was just a bit of fun but it hurt and I was breathing hard. I didn't catch the guy, missed out by about 10mtrs.

 

Just on the breathing, this is the first climb where I've really noticed the lack of oxygen, it happened with about 6kms to go and you think you can't possibly need this much air for the pace you're going, it's very noticeable.

 

So we hit the summit to lots of cheers from people on top, took some shots, looked at the amazing view and descended down the other side. The descent was brilliant, I think we only saw about 6 other vehicles, and I saw a Marmotte running across the snow :)

 

We descended to the junction of the Col du Lautaret and had lunch at the cafe and waited for John and Dave. The sun was shining but the wind was getting up a bit, not much. The skies were clear and the view of the mountains made a perfect setting. The other guys turned up about 30mins later, we ate and headed back for the return back over the Galibier.

 

From this side the climb is is much more consistent so it was just a case of tapping a rhythm but it goes on for a while. Rob and the others raced ahead and Rob was going to get to the top and come back down and ride up again from wherever I was. Again the views were stunning, you feel like you're riding on top of the world, everything you cans see appears to be lower than you are. About two thirds the way up there were skid marks on the road that went to the edge and down the slop about 200mtrs was a mangled car, a stark reminder to not get it wrong!

 

I must have surprised the others with my pace as Rob wasn't thinking of heading down for a few minutes more when I turned up, everyone was congratulating me, so maybe my form is improving a bit in the mountains. I overtook two other riders on the way up, woohoo!

 

We descended down the steep side which is much more technical, and into Valloire, it's a long long descent and easy to get wrong, then a 5km climb to the top of the Telegraphe then 3kms down then the nasty 6kms back up to Valmenier 1600, which is a nasty nasty sting after a long day.

 

It's a brilliant brilliant day, the views, the size of the mountain, the climb, the lunch, just everything. Excluding events, it was the single best day I've ever had on the bike and if I never get back here, then I'd still be happy.

 

Shots of the top to follow as they're on Robs phone.

 

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Pantani memorial, the ground was too wet to get closer.

 

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Edited by FatPom
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Hey FP - Last August I ran up and down the Galibier from Valloire. Took me 8 freakin' hours!!!

It felt like it took me 8 freakin hrs to cycle it! You are certifiable to run up and down there!

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Mate those 5 pics on the bike are legendary.

 

Blow 'em up, frame 'em, put them on the wall.

Think I might, after this week I have a new found love for all things flat!

 

So today is AdH, but first we are doing the 15km climb of Col du Sorrenne, then descending down the back of AdH followed by a 9km valley blast to Bourg, then up the AdH. The second day of the AdH Sox is on so the climb will be filled with drunken Dutch guys cheering everyone on. Should be a larf!

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Mega is one word for it, freakin knackering is another!

 

So another day in the van, we headed over Galibier again and I was shocked at how much the amount of snow has reduced even in 24 hrs. It's been a very hot couple of days and you can see that the snow is fighting a losing battle. I was so lucky to ride up there on Thurs, because the days before were awful weather up there.

 

Turned right at the junction and head towards Sarenne, which is the same road that goes to Bourg. Arrived at Sarrene and kitted up, it was hot already and it was only 11am. Rode on the main road for about a minute then a sharp leftnd BANG, straight into a 16% wall of a road. With no warm up it was a rude shock to the legs. It went on like this for about 2kms then eased up and headed towards the villages. Welcome to the Col du Sarenne!!

 

The climb is 15kms but gets easier after the first 3kms and is a very nice climb actually, so pretty, almost like an English country lane ride. I tapped out a rhythm and was quite happy, the others had belted ahead. I went past a sign that said 5kms to go and all was well in my little world. Then my little world tilted on its axis a bit, the next 5kms were an absolute slug fest, not crazy steep but about 10% and the rapd surface was shocking. The landscape opened up and reminded me very much of the Lake District in the UK. Big grey rocks, grass and no trees. Eventually I reached the top and joined the others.

 

We descended towards what would be the top end of AdH, but there were a few ups and downs before we got there and the descent was sketchy because of the road condition. Dropped into AdH and had lunch at the very top part. After that we headed down into the town on on to the famous hairpins. We only descended to about hairpin 6 and then turned sharp right and rode an undulating road that eventually started descending. I don't know what this road was called, but the views of the AdH hairpins wee stunning and we only saw one other rider, it was very quiet.

 

We kept descending and came out eventually on the main road that goes back to Bourg. A 9km chaingangs effort brought us back to Bourg bur nobody was pushing hard because in the valley it was an oven and very very dry on the throat. We got to a roundabout, headed left and then we were at the bottom AdH, hairpin zero!!

 

So, here I am then, about to start want must be the most famous climb in the world. Rob gave me some advice, ride within myself, drink at every hairpin, eat or take gels and don't be afraid to stop if needs be for a stretch. So they all took off and it was just me and the AdH, eek!

 

The Dutch event had all finished the day before so there were not crazy amounts of riders about. The plan was to meet at the bar outside the Chrono point. It was 2:31pm Rob reckoned a good time for a first timer with fresh legs would be 1:15, and then added that I'd be more like 1:30 because of the fatigue from the week and the climb earlier in the day.

 

So off I go, after about 10 mtrs I'm in my lowest gear, 27, this is a steep start. The first hairpin is 21 and up the road because the start point is zero. It's a bloody long way to 21 it seems to me, but it came, OK where is 20? Turns out 20 is quite a way up the road as well, so first lesson was that the gaps between the hairpins are longer than I thought. I pushed on, being overtaken by a few riders and overtaking nobody myself.

 

Eventually I get the fabled hairpin 16 whee things are meant to be easier, and they certainly are but it's still hard. The other thing I was not prepared for is how corners there are before the hairpins. This messes with your head because you think 'ooh the road is disappearing, must be a hairpin' only to get there and just a normal bloody corner, hmm very annoying LOL.

 

It was still very hot but I counted down the hairpins and apart from a long section between 13 and 12 or thereabouts, they were ticking off slowly, but I felt like I was hardly moving. I went past 10 and was now into single figures and starting to get near to the bottom of the Huez, which as it turns out, is nowhere near the bloody top! I came upon the photo guy at hairpin 5 and he shoved a card in my pocket. I looked at my watch and all hope of 1:15 had gone, 1:25 might have been possible but it would depend on the length between the top few hairpins. As it turns out they were quite a distance apart, I went through hairpin 1 with 90 secs in hand for a 1:30 finish but there was still a way to go to the Chrono line. I belted as hard as I could but I knew I wouldn't make it and crossed the line with a time of 1:32xx.

 

The others clapped and cheered, I just wanted to colllapse, I was shaking like a leaf. A couple of Cokes and a sandwich later I felt better. I didn't really enjoy that climb, I'm glad I did it but it's not particularly scenic and has cars and motos belting up and down it all the time with a ton of shops at the top. I'm not sure I'd go back, but sure glad I can say I did it.

 

We had to climb out of AdH and the the 5km climb back to the summit of Sarrene, it's easier from this side but hurt after a long day. We had a very long descent to Sarrene and a long trip back in the van. We arrived back at 8:20pm and I quickly packed the bike, had dinner and started to type this (such is my dedication to you guys).

 

So my Alpine adventure is over, what did I learn?

 

I'll never be a long distance climber but I can get up a mountain if needs be.

If you weigh over 80kgs bring something easier than a 27.

If I came back, I'd just do it with some mates, pick a decent climb each day and spend more time laughing and eating and chilling out.

The roads are shockingly bad, worse that anything I ride in the UK.

The world is beautiful.

I missed my daughter more than I thought possible.

I'm bloody knackered!

 

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I'm not doing that again!

 

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Edited by FatPom
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Well done again FP!

 

Col du Sarenne is a scenic climb. Looking back down the top section...

 

20110823+33+D25a+Looking+back+road+to+Co

 

Right turn would have been through the village of Villard Reculas - makes an enjoyable climb to Alpe d'Huez in its own right though does include some short descents before hitting the main road.

 

In regards to the climb of Alpe d'Huez. I had a similar view after the first time I rode it - suffered due to the heat and first day jet lag, high traffic, nice enough views but nowhere near as scenic as many of the other climbs, and not an obvious finish -TDF finish is towards the top of the village next to a large vacant car park.

 

But after a week in the area including riding over the road a few more times (descending off the Col du Sarenne, ascending via Villard Reculas) I started to get a feel for it and I warmed to it. So when I hit it hard on my forth day on and last day before moving on to Bourg St Maurice I felt the connection, the energy and the history and loved it. Probably helped that I stomped out a good time and really felt like I attacked rather than survived it unlike my first day...

 

20110820+Church+Alpe+d%2527Huez+small.jp

 

Although it would be nice driven everywhere and guided, the area easily suits individuals to travel by train and bus and be self sufficient riding a week or more around the villages. Can take a little organising to link up the various villages travelling by PT, but once you do it is easy to base yourself in towns such as Bourg d'Oisans, St Jean De Maurienne and Bourg St Maurice with easily a weeks riding in each. For those thinking of doing it I would recommend! Such a trip doesn't have to break the bank, especially when outside summer holidays it can be done quite ecomomically.

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