Saturday, 10 July 2010

9/7/10: I woke up behind my bush by the side of the road&packed up and had a wash in the river. I stopped immediatly to fill up on water for the day&buy some food. The first 8 miles was done in 21 minutes as I had a really smooth,gently downhill road to the bottom of my main climb for the day. I then spent the next 4hrs 5mins climbing to the top of the Col du telegraphe and then onto the Col de galibier. On the way up I stopped once for a drink in a bar and met a couple from Sussex who were planning a route through the Alps for their classic car club. I also met a young Brit who was cycling from Geneva to Nice and taking in numerous Cols along the way. I considered asking to join him and his friend but as the conversation went on it was clear they weren't doing many miles per day and were on more of a cafe crawl! From the top of the Col du telegraphe I had a short descent of about 2km to the start of the Galibier. I was almost driven off the edge into the Valley floor by a mad frenchman on the way down, needless to say he received a highly graphic gesture of the sort of person I felt he was! I then climbed up to the Galibier summit at 2645m, it was quite a climb, definitely the hardest so far at 37km from bottom to top, which gave me plenty of time to work out all sorts of statistics. For example my feet went around about 16,800 times in order to reach the summit. And also I should consume one of my small 'gallette' biscuits every 1min 30 secs to provide enough energy for this. And finally, had I not had 15kg of luggage I'd have been 1hr 2mins quicker to the top. I decided to have lunch a short way down the descent as a group of german motorbikers seemed intent on smoking the summit out. I then cycled down all the way to Bourg D'Oisens at a mere 700m. I did not have the energy for L'Alpe D'Huez at this point so finished here. Total mileage was 62.61miles today. I looked at a few campsites, but they were about €15-20 per night for my small tent&bike so I decided to 'go wild' again. I found a nice field which didn't appear to have had any form of tractor in for some months. Cooked yet more pasta and went to sleep!

10/7/10: This morning there was unfortunately a very heavy dew so most of the clothes I'd put out to dry overnight were wet. I hung them out on the line (bungeed onto my panniers) and set off. I stopped at the foot of L'Alpe D'Huez to leave my bags in a shop I had bought some food from. I thought if I was going to the ttop&immediatly down then there was no point in hauling them all the way. I set off up the 21 bends with seemingly every cyclist in the Alps doing the same thing! I was amazed just how much quicker I was going without the panniers, it was fantastic. I went fairly slowly all the way as I had a fair way to go after this. However, with 3 turns left a young teenager passed me with his dad. They did not even give the slightest flicker of response to my cheery 'Bonjour' so feeling snubbed and in a moment of 'testosterone surge' I had to race them to the top. I soon found my nice amble to the top turning into a flat out, lung bursting attempt to race a 13 yr old to the summit! Needless to say I pushed him off the edge into the valley floor. At the top were tens of cyclists all buying their 'I've done it' T-shirts. I decided €35 was a bit much and settled for a Fanta instead. The whole thing took 1hr11mins up and 18mins down so it wasnt as if it was anywhere near the torture of the Galibier, so I thought a T-shirt was a little OTT! I picked up my bags at the bottom and continued along the valley and up to the Col de which wasn't too bad, as it was only 1367m high. However, on the descent after I bumped into a full on thunder storm. I donned the waterproofs properly for the 1st time in 2 weeks and carried on. Sadly I seemed to by following the storm and got utterly soaked. I was offered a lift by a passing couple in a van but politely refused as I thought it was a shame not to cycle all the way, and this would be cheating! I arrived in La Mure in time to watch the last 20km of the tour. I dried out and it stopped raining. I then cycled to a campsite I thought was nearby (not realising the steep descent and ascent leading to it which took an hour!) The campsite is great and after explaining how I found them using the lodging function on my Garmin, the owner was more than happy to charge it for me. I pitched the tent with thunder in the background and it soon began raining again. Luckily I was allowed to cook in the games room, so all was well. To top it all the football was on so I cooked and watched TV. Covered a total of 52.70 miles today.

1 comment:

  1. There are some famous climbs in that list. I remember camping at the foot of Alpe d'Huez. It's very steep right from the valley floor, isn't it? You take care on those descents!