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Archive for May, 2013

Col de la Croix de Fer is open ………

Friday, May 17th, 2013

The major cols are starting to open with the Col de la Croix de Fer opening today, next it will be the Glandon and then the Galibier.

Alpe d’Huez & Les Deux Alpe and many other climbs are open all year.

Col de la Croix de Fer is now open

Col de la Croix de Fer is now open

Bourg d’Oisans B and B Laffrey loop + a new col!

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

As it was a good weather day I had to make the most of the sunshine – ride time.

With a friend from Bourg d’Oisans we went off to ride the Laffrey loop which we have ridden many times, with the additional climb up to Col de Malissol which I only found the other day when I was out on the motorbike .

It was a cold start with the usual head wind down the valley to the turn at Sechilinne. Arm and leg warmers off and it was the steady climb up through the woods to Laffrey, lovely sunshine all the way ummmm.

Col  de Malissol

A new col

The road to Col de Malissol was as usual empty  with a few cyclists coming the other way.
After a sandwich we set off up the climb, average of 10% and up to 14% in places, the road surface was like a racetrack perfect tarmac.

The climb is  about 4 kilometres and really steady – one to enjoy. Once at the top, photo time then a fast descent however half way down we were surprised by a tight left turn which came up rather quickly.

It was then back onto the normal Laffrey loop. On the Col d’Ornon climb w had a nice tail wind all the way up, all help is welcomed.
It is always a relief when you reach the top of  Col d’Ornon as it is down hill virtually all the way home.

This is definately a route I would do again and recommend to guests, 1951 meters climbing over 110km.

As it was 1951m of climbing I had  to do 2000m  so it was up  Oulles, a short sharp climb,  sad I know but 2000m – done .

Alpe d’Huez & the power of power meters.

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Anyone who I have talked to (or as Alan would say ‘anyone who I have bored’) about having a power meter will know I am a real advocate and say that understanding power has changed my cycling for the better.

Today if I did have any doubt, proved to me, how good understanding power based cycling is. I decided to ride Alpe d’Huez as a training ride I did this as I know full well I am not currently fit enough to break any PB’s and it gives the ride a purpose.

I set myself a reasonable average power target but a lot lower than I would normally ride the Alpe. First issue, I couldn’t actually ride the first two bends at such a low power they are too steep! Once I overcame that hitch I just pedalled away quite happily.

However that’s not the point of the blog!  On the first ramp, there were 2 cyclists in front of me one tearing up and the other steadily plodding, I definitely thought on a normal day I would easily have caught the one who I thought was ‘plodding’, tempting as it was I resisted the challenge. About half way up the Alpe it suddenly struck me that both cyclists were out of sight – hey ho, I had my own ride to do. Then on bend 5 where the landscape opens up I saw them both! The plodder I caught and overtook, he tried to stick to my wheel but I knew he wouldn’t as I had caught him through riding steadily. The whipsnapper had stopped for a rest and as he saw me he darted off, trying to ride away, I caught him and surprise surprise he tried to stick to my wheel! I know its quite cruel but I couldn’t resist, I rode slowly up the incline and then accelerated round the flatter part of the bend, that was him gone! As I looked down from bend 1 I saw him stopped again, blown up – nothing to me just setting off way to fast.

I continued to the finish (overtaking a couple of others, I did have some excess energy left!), stopped checked my stats, put my arm warmers & gillet on and set off down, as I was descending bend one I saw both the guy’s nearing the finish looking slightly worse for wear. I am sure if they had evened out their power from start to finish, they would have done much better, in particular the whipsnapper. Once again the power meter proves itself.

Alpe d'Huez finish