Monday, June 25, 2007

Galibier, Alpe d'Huez, Izoard Part IV

Saturday, June 23rd. I knew this was going to be a hard day, our Alpe d'Huez day. 130km with 10, 300+ feet of climbing . Ouch. Today there would be no wasted energy taking photographs while riding, it was a day for hanging onto some wheels.

The day began at 9:30 a.m. with the climb to the Col du Lautaret followed by a very long descent to the base of the Alpe d'Huez. The Tour de France first finished a stage on the Alpe d'Huez in 1952. That stage was won by Fausto Coppi. The climb up Alpe d'Huez is 13.8 (8.6 miles) km at an average gradient of 8.1% with 21 hairpin bends are marked with panels honoring the winners of each stage that has finished there. Arriving at the summit you find a good sized skiing village, a different scene than the tops of Galibier or Izoard.

I enjoyed the climb up Alpe d'Huez. Of course, I didn't break any records but once again I was left in awe the level of performance that pro cyclists reach:
Top 5 best times up Alpe d'Huez:
#1 Marco Pantani, 37' 35"
#2* Lance Armstron, 37' 36" (* = ITT)
#3 Marco Pantani, 38' 00"
#4 Lance Armstrong, 38' 01"
#5 Marco Pantani, 38' 04"

After arriving at the top I made the mistake of asking which road we were going to return on. The answer was, "The same way we came". That meant 30 km (18.6 miles) of steady climbing back up to the Col du Lautaret. Wow, what a slog that was. You get to a point you are so tired your body is telling you to STOP, but the the brain says KEEP GOING.

We arrived back at our hotel about 5:30 p.m. Everyone basked in the sun and had a cold beer. This day ended with another great dinner. This time a combination of French dishes with Italian risotto with tastasal followed by a TARTE DES MIRTILLE dessert.

I had a difficult time sleeping. My body seemed agitated, probably knowing that on the program for the following day was the Col du Izoard and 100 km didn't help.

Photos: on the way to Alpe d'Huez, a beautiful lake, the four Gruppo 1 club members that made the trip (Paolo, Daniela and her husband Beppe, and me) at the summit, basking in the sun back at the hotel

1 comment:

  1. Hello Angel!
    Great adventure to climb the Alpe d'huez. You are pretty lucky!
    Best man!