Saturday was a really long day. The 700km drive to the Alpes took about 11 hours, thanks to horrendous French traffic and frequent toll stops.
Anyway, we finally arrived and ate a great dinner in Bourg d’Oisan. Unfortunately, Sunday’s weather was cold and wet. I think I was spoiled by the weather when I spent a week here in June; it was hot and sunny everyday. We spent a good chunk of today’s ride in the rain and cold. It was quite miserable at times, but luckily, Galibier - the highest pass at 2,645 meters - was kind to us.
All the Spaniards turned out to be very strong cyclists. Back in the US, I can hold my own on climbs. But here in Europe, I pretty much get nailed every day. I hoped to be mid-pack on this ride, but I was consistently towards the back on every climb.
If you didn’t see my June posting, La Marmotte is one of the world’s toughest rides. Its 175km and 5,000m of vertical over 3 hors categorie climbs and a cat-1 (Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, and finally, Alpe D’Huez. Stage 19 of this year’s Tour went over the final three. It was one of the most exciting stages: Contador attacked early on Telegraphe but couldn’t hold it; a French rider, Pierre Roland, won the stage at Alpe d'Huez; and Thomas Voeckler lost the maillot jaune after 10 days of leading the General Classification.
And, if you are looking for a high-end bike shop in Barcelona, check out Pave (www.pave.cc). Javier Mayo is the person you want to see.
Here are some pictures from the trip:
|Warming up after Col du Glandon.|
|Col du Galibier.|
|In Bourg d'Oisan just before climbing Alpe d'Huez.|
|Pave bike shop in Barcelona.|
|Watching the TDF at Pave back in July. We'd just returned from a ride in the hills around Barcelona.|