Sunday, June 24, 2007

Galibier, Alpe d'Huez, Izoard Part I

Col du Galibier, 2646 meters (8,681 feet asl)
Alpe d'Huez, 1850 meters (6,069 feet asl)
Col d'Izoard 2360 meters (7,742 feet asl)

It's difficult to even begin how to describe this trip. Challenging, Difficult, Hard, Fun, Beautiful, Exhausting, Exhilarating, History, Friendship, Panoramas, are the words that first come to mind.

And, what more can I say? 294 km (182.6 miles) with 6,060 meters (19,880 feet) of climbing from a Friday afternoon through a Sunday morning!

Eros Poli's trip for this year was named, "Les Escalades Mitiques 2007". Eros, who lives here in Verona, is a former professional cyclist that is best known as "Monsieur Mont Ventoux" for his victory of the Mont Ventoux stage in the 1994 Tour de France. Last year he organized a trip to Mont Ventoux and for this year he planned a trip to ride several of the most famous cols of the Tour, Galibier, Alpe d'Huez and Izoard. Eros is foremost a really nice guy and, of course, incredibly knowledgeable. It's an entirely different experience when you are riding with someone that has raced on the very roads you will be riding.

The trip for 40 of us started on Friday, June 22nd with an early morning wake-up. We had to be at the starting point at Porta Palio starting at 6:00 load our bicycles into a very large panel van. Our departure, on a modern long distance bus, was at 7:00 a.m. Our destination was the Guisane valley in the Southern Alps of France. We would be staying at a small, simple but charming hotel, near Briancon that is often used by the professional cycling teams.

We stopped for espresso and brioches at 8:30 a.m. and made a lunch stop at 11:30 a.m. For lunch we made our own panini sandwiches with prosciutto, salami, and various cheeses. Eros encouraged us to eat plenty. Along the way Eros presented everyone with a cycling jersey designed for our giro.

We arrived in Le Monetier-Les-Bains at 2:15pm where we quickly checked into our hotel, got into our cycling clothes and put our bikes together. Our first ride, starting at 3:30 p.m., from Le Monetier-Les-Bains would be up to to the Col du Lautaret, followed by the climb up the Col du Galabier. In terms of absolute elevation this would be our highest climb at 8, 681 feet.

Photos: my Pinarello poking out of a sea of bike bags, lunch stop with Eros managing the formaggio duties; on the way to Galibier via the Col du Lautaret (with our custom jerseys; notice how 40 people that haven't ridden together before have organized themselves within a few minutes for efficiency)

No comments:

Post a Comment