v6/7/10: Set off from campsite after refreshing face wash in ice cold water! My route to chamonix was relatively flat and shorter than expected so I arrived there about 2.30pm. I am staying in some friends' chalet which is fantastic! So many thanks to Barbera& John! During the cycling today I received a helping hand along the way from 3 frenchmen who I managed to draft off for a good 10 miles thus being protected from the wind nicely. I decided to sort out the creaking sound from my bike headset when I arrived so took the whole thing apart. Unfortunately I dropped a vital piece in a small gap in the ground&spent the next 3 hours going to every bike shop in the valley in search of the part. I eventually got a similiar piece which means I can continue although it isn't perfect. I was able to watch a thoroughly exciting stage of the tour de france in the evening.
7/7/10: I set off at 8.31am from the chalet in order to catch the bus from Chamonix to Courmayeur through the Mt.Blanc tunnel since you are not allowed to cycle through it. Yes, 14 minutes was cutting it fine and I nicely arrived in time to see the bus pull away. I decided the best way forward was to chase it through Chamonix until it stopped, not really very realistic! I sadly lost contact the moment it got onto the dual carriageway leading to the tunnel: I decided rather than wait 4 hours for the next bus I would attempt to hitch hike from the tunnel entrance. So I made my way up the hill to the tunnel and befor I even had time to stick out a thumb a very kind French couple pulled up and asked me if I wanted a lift! Quelle chance! So I soon found myself in Courmayeur having saved the €20 bus fee. I climbed out of Italy back into France on the Col du petit St.Bernard, although after spending 2hrs15mins getting to the 2212m summit from 480m I can't quite understand where 'petit' comes from. The road all the way to the summit still had things like 'Allez Lance' sprayed on it from last years tour. On the way up 3 cyclists came down the hill who were all riders for Cofidis&Francaises des jeux (2 top end pro tour teams) they later passed me on the way up having been to the bottom and back,and later on again on the way up to Tignes! In short they had done both sides of the St.Bernard and were setting off up the Col De L'Iseran by 1.30pm,who knows what they had left to do! I enjoyed a great descent down the St.Bernard and then spent a good 1hr30mins getting up to Tignes. This was a route I knew well having done it a few times when I was in Val D'Isere in the winter, but it was nice to do it in the sun not wearing ski gloves. By the time I had got to Tignes I was seriously tired, in Total I spent about 5 of the 6.5 hours climbing. I staggered into the Tourist information office and was dismayed to find the only campsite was down in La Breviere (a village wayy about 40minutes riding up hill to Tignes I had passed through.) I was not about to cycle down to it and then back up the next day so I splashed out on a B&B in Tignes which the very helpful people in the office booked for me. The Spanish cross country ski team are staying here for their summer training and I am watching Spain .v. Germany with them. I did a total of 70.31 miles today.
8/7/10: Early start as I wanted to go skiing on the Glacier in tignes. I bought my lift pass and rented some kit and headed up the funival to the glacier. The snow was ok, but reallly quite slushy as you'd expect. There were about 6 runs open,so I spent a few hours doing these. I headed back to the B&B to collect my stuff and descended back down to the magnificant barrage/damn in the valley below Tignes and Val D. I climbed up to Val through the various tunnels and stopped for lunch just outside the town before the road steepens and winds up through the Solaise area of the resort and into Le Fornet. It was quite different seeing it all in the summer. I climbed for a good hour to the top which is at a towering 2770m, the highest I think I'll reach on my trip. The descent down was quite something,it was incredibly steep with great big drops off the edge of the road into the valley and no form of barriers at all, not that I was complaining given the slog to the top! When I got to the bottom I was still at 1850m so set off along the valley floor hoping I would slowly descend into Modane. The road was downhill all the way really but there was an incredibly strong wind blowing into me all the way so I didn't arrive until about 7pm. I couldn't find a campsite in any villages after Modane as I'd decided I didn't want to stay in the town. I knocked on a few doors to collect plenty of water and then as a was feeling like saving money I set up camp in some long grass by a small road next to a river which runs through an EDF hydroelectric power station just up the valley. I washed in the river/stream and cooked dinner. Total mileage was just 58.49 miles as I didn't stop skiing until 1pm. Tomorrow I continue SW towards Alp D'Huez.