Spring has certainly sprung with 2 weeks of warm weather, first thing it is usually sub zero but by mid-afternoon 2o degrees! We got our bikes out of hibernation a couple of weeks ago and have done a few local rides, mainly flat in the valley although we did do Col d’Ornon and I (Lynne) went up Alpe d’Huez at the end of Feb, the first ride up the Alpe of the year is always the worst. We have had 2 guests do Alpe d’Huez last week which has got the 2012 timimg board underway.
Today with a good forecast we thought we would do the Laffrey loop 100km with 1500m of climbing and one of my favourite rides. The first dilema what to wear as the ride starts with 28km of flat / descent in the coolest part of the valley followed by over 70km in the sun of ascending and descending. We wrapped up for the descent but as soon as we came to the first climb we were too hot, after getting rid of a couple of layers, we only over-heated on the final climb of Col d’Ornon. We took the ride relatively easy wanting to enjoy it all rather than dying late on. A beautiful day and great to feel the sun on our backs as we enjoyed the views. Usually we don’t stop but today we had a coffee in Valbonais, very welcome & the cafe owners are really welcoming always slowing down their talking so we can understand. From Valbonais it’s 20km up Col d’Ornon all was going well until 3k from the end when we were caught by a very fit cycling club (club velo Bourg d’Oisans) mate, he slowed down to chat but his slow climbing is fast for me, I watched and felt my HR rise & rise, luckily as we were cycling, he didn’t go for the traditional French hello of a kiss on both cheeks but a handshake, that was enough for me as I gasped for air. After a km I popped off the back leaving him and Alan to ride on and then he left Alan, it sounds rude but I was glad to see him go – I could relax again. We finished the ride along the valley in temperatures of 20 degrees, a great day out.