When you’re getting warnings on your phone every 20 minutes talking about extreme heat, what do you do? What any normal person would do. Head for the hills! And that’s what we did, again, today. Not a really long ride, but worked out nicely with being able to take a train to the start and a train home from the finish.
First train from Grenoble to Chambery, where we took advantage of the 50 minute layover to change out my front tire, which had actually worn through. Next train to Albertville, which was where Kevin and I stayed on his 2nd trip here, so brought back a few memories.
The first 12.5 miles kinda gently roll uphill, a few little climbs, nothing serious. It’s the next 12.5 miles that are so much fun you’ll wonder why you don’t do this every day. Yeah, don’t think so. It’s never super-steep, just a couple stretches where I saw 11% briefly, lost of stuff between 8 & 10%. Main problem I had was wanting a gear in-between what our Bike Fridays deliver, and yes, that’s generally the excuse people have when they can’t climb fast. Wrong gear. Right.
It’s a beautiful mountain that photos don’t do justice to.
We had planned to eat at one of the 3 restaurants surrounding the lake as you near the final part of the climb, but after waiting for quite a while for service at each one, we moved on. Actually, the first restaurant wasn’t bad, but we ordered just cokes because they had no sandwiches on the menu, just expensive regular meals.
Seems like I might finally be getting used to the heat. Makes sense; this was our 4th ride here, all of them during their much-advertised heat wave. Fortunately it doesn’t get REALLY hot until 3pm, so if you ride earlier, you miss most of it.
The descent towards Bourg St Maurice is incredible. It will be fun watching how the racers do it without going over the edge. The first part is fast… with a tailwind, possibly the fastest speeds anyone might ever hit (not us though; no tailwind and we were not wanting to take too many risks). I could imagine the pros could actually hit 60mph without much effort. But, just for the first couple of miles, after which it gets narrower and the corners are often banked the wrong way. Still a fun descent though. Steeper on the Bourg St. Maurice side than Albertville.
No ride tomorrow; we’re taking the train to Orange to catch up with the race and get photos. Thursday the race comes to us! Still working on the best way to see it, but thinking we’ll ride up to the top of the Galibier, then head back down a bit to find a good place for getting downhill photos. This will be an interesting stage, finishing on a descent.