Monday, June 27, 2011
L’Alpe d’Heuz June 27 2011
Today was suppose to be a rest day however tomorrow you were suppose to ride L’Alpe d’Heuz and back then ride on to Col du Lautaret, for a 95 km day. However the climb to L’Alpe d’Heuz was an out and back so if you knocked that off today then tomorrow is an easy day.
The climb up L’Alpe d’Heuz was only 14.4 kms however it was no picnic. The climb is mostly 8-10% grade and there are lots of sections which although not marked are much steeper. The climb has 21 switch back corners which are all marked and count down as you climb the hill. The total climb is some thin like 1500 meters. This climb is one of the best known climbs on the Tour du France. I think the record is something like 36 minutes but it took me something like 2.5 hours, including panting, and wheezing beside the road time. Juerg and I got out around 8:15 so we beat the heat of the day (36 C), which was good. I would have died up there on the bald hillside. It was very picturesque and it was very nice not having a million motorbikes roaring past you.
I am a few hundred meters from the finish line for the tour when there is a bang and the improvised spoke that Richard had made way back in Sicily let go. I was hoping to ride it for the next few days. It was part of this tour. With a broken spoke I had a wobbly wheel and my hopes of setting a down hill record were dashed. The good news it that Bourg d’Oisan is bike shop Meca and I found a couple of new spokes. When I get home I will have to look in to getting a stock of spares as they are quite rare.
This climb really showed me how strong the Tour riders are.
Time for after noon nap.