Germany, Iceland, France (& that Bike Race) & England


July, 2005

The Alps: Day 3, L'Alpe D'Huez

Well, this was the day which we had waited for. Indeed this day was the one which we all regarded as the make or break day of our respective holidays. Success today would render the entire effort and expense of the trip worthwhile no matter what else happened, failure was not even contemplated. At 06:00 we were off in the cars, bikes packed, cold and wet weather tops, bananas, Mars bars, and small cameras. The drive across Le Col de La Croix de Fer proved very scary on such narrow steep winding roads. This also allowed us to discover what a gutless wonder our car was. Driving on the Autobahns had been fine, but steep narrow windy alpine roads were not suited to this vehicle!

We eventually arrived in Bourg D'Oisans and had some more breakfast. Then it was just a short trip along the road, by bike of course, up, up, up, up and more up. Fran climbed with only a few breaks, I climbed a little slower with two extra breaks, and Graeme and Debbie came up not far behind us. (Graeme climbing at his usual fast pace, and waiting here and there for Debbie) Graeme and Fran had both climbed very well indeed - average speeds a bit higher than mine and Debbie's BUT we all arrived at the top! YES! This sounds easy but 14 Km of road at around 8% is not easy at all. (the first 2 km is 10% the next 2km is 12%) The altitude also had some effect on our riding towards the top. We took photos, bought the jerseys (ultra important for street cred.) and then headed down. What a hoot! Sounds like just a hill climb, but we had come a long way around the world to do this.

This mountain is really worth the climb - unlike so many of the big climbs, there is actually a town at the top so you can buy a drink and some food, sit down and contemplate your success, and naturally buy all the souvenir type stuff, like a jersey! On the way up there were hundreds of other cyclists, and quite a bit of motorised traffic as well. Bikes varied from custom built carbon fibre jobs to very humble commuter bike, and I saw one guy climbing on a fixie! Not a single recumbent though! The road is excellent quality and in places quite wide. This year " Le Tour" does not come here, but we will see them climb Col de Galibier in a few day's time!

Fran and I shopped later in the day as it was our turn - hmm... not a great experience, but the roast lamb dinner will be!

Peaks viewed from our front window
View from Turn 9 on L'Alpe D'Huez
The finish line
Yay, me made it!
A view
Reward for Debbie