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Archive for June, 2013

The first Marmotte ride of the year

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

A guest wanted to ride the marmotte route and as I like it so much I never miss the opportunity and offered to go with him.

We set off a little earlier than normal about 7.20 as rain was forecast later in the day.
While climbing the Glandon we saw loads of marmottes out roaming, looking for food and playing around.  I dion’t think I have ever seen so many at one time. All the sheep were up the mountains now for their summer holidays!

The descent of the Glandon was fantastic, the road is in great condition and there were no cars as it was still early.

As we turned right at the base and onto the valley road the guests gear cable broke and he was stuck in top gear – Ooops, help required.

We carried on to the next town and managed to get the cable replaced in a bike / chainsaw shop, a very odd place but they did it. This took about a hour.
On to the the Telegraph where we stopped for a sandwich  prior to ascending. A French guy of about 65 years joined us as we were eating ,he was cycling 250 km on his old heavy mountain bike weighing in at 40kgs – respect.

Up the lovely Telegraph climb and down in to Valloire where it was time for a bar and a gel and a bottle top up.  As we started out of the town we could see that the mountains ahead including the Galibier were in cloud. Not ten minutes later it poured down.  When we arrived at the last restaurant the rain had stopped but the wind was so cold we left our jackets on for a while.  We continued to the top where it was snowing very lightly, the Galibier is never an easy climb but always a good one.

There is still lots of snow on the north facing slopes which makes it ccccolder,  about 1’c and the wind was blowing. Glad I had brought my wind proof over trousers saved me freezing on the way down. The viewsThe weather cleared and the views  were fantastic as ever. Once at the col du Lautaret it was warmer.

Unfortunately it was a head wind all the way back home but always a great descent.

The guest carried on to finish the ride by doing Alpe d’Huez.  Did I do Alpe d’Huez —– no.


Cycling – Alpe d’Huez & more ……. Alpe d’HuZes

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The sun is shining and the cycling season is well underway. We have both ridden quite a lot already this year, Alpe d’Huez, Croix de Fer, Col du Lautaret, La Barade to name a few, sometimes we wonder, will we get bored of cycling in the mountains, so far we certainly we haven’t. With so many routes of differing intensity & scenery I don’t think you can get bored, I admit the majority of routes involve the challenge of a climb however these can be ridden at different intensity, something I think both of us are enjoying. You don’t always have to try and blast up a mountain ending up hanging off your bike at the end – although you do have to have a go occasionally!!

We have both ridden Alpe d’Huez twice in the last week at a low intensity and the mountain has changed, the different things you notice when sweat isn’t pouring into your eyes.

Yesterday was one of those such days it was Alpe d’HuZes, a huge Dutch event where riders are challenges to ride up Alpe d’Huez 6 times in 15 hours in order to raise money for the fight against cancer. The event attracts 8000 riders and approximately 10,000 supporters. Alpe d’Huez quite sensibly is closed for day, only event riders are allowed on it during the day. Our cycling club Velo Club Bourg d’Oisans is privilidged to get an invite to ride up the Alpe during the event as a show of local mutual support to the riders and cause. About 20 of us went up with the agreement ‘no racing’, it was certainly a ride of mixed emotions. We tried to stay as a group as much as possible and take in the event ….. as the rider next to me said ‘c’est magnifique’ the riders attempting & succeeding to ride up 6 times in memory of loved ones and the support all the way up – unbelievable and then as you came into Alpe d’Huez it was like the Tour d’France with the supporters lining the streets the gap to ride through was 2 bike widths max.

An amazing ride up Alpe d’Huez which provoked every emotion and total admiration for what everyone was doing for such a great cause, riders, organisers and supporters, last year the event rised over 32 million euros I imagine this year it will be at least the same.

Not every ride has to be a race!


Alpe d'HuZes