I’ve been sitting for a few minutes trying to come up with some brilliant adjectives to describe yet another day in my new paradise, but my english has failed me and in the end, the fact is, today was F.U.N. Although I was instructed to start my day with a run. Run? What? I’m here to run? Right. I have an Ironman in 3 weeks. Must stay focused on the agenda. The run was tough because its all mountainous, so first I ran up a ways, then back down a ways on the other side, then I came back through (up and down), then did it all again. Putting some pounding in the quads to prepare for IM LP. The run proved that I did not recover well from yesterday. So I spent the middle part of the day eating and drinking and sleeping and arguing with Jimmy that yes, I could ride. So around 5 (it doesn’t get dark here until about 10), we headed out. First we hit the top 1/3 of Alpe d’Huez, then down the backside. The first few kilometers of that descent was the most white knuckling, terrifying 10 minutes I’ve ever spent on my bike. The road was rough and pitted with loose gravel. There is no guardrail and the sheer drop-off would make even the most courageous person develop a slight fear of heights (although I will say that Jimmy, being Jimmy, bombed down the side of that thing–I just can’t even put my head around it).
This doesn’t quite do it justice, but perhaps you get the idea.
This is looking across, but both sides of the mountain were that steep. Nothing to stop a fall, I’m afraid.
Since it was so steep, we quickly made it past the part that I wanted to cry and the road quickly turned into a smooth slightly wavy ribbon that I, a terrible descender, could spend some bomb time. Damn it was fun. Since I didn’t die, I could really enjoy this. I did have to stop and take a photo:
We made it back down into Le Bourg-d’Oisans and stopped to have dinner before heading back up Alpe d’Huez.
Alpe d’Huez was everything I could have hoped…and a little more. I was surprised at the grade on the bottom 4k–very steep and unrelenting. But it does ease up just a bit and allows you to relax (or speed up depending on your agenda) and enjoy. I am still under restriction at the moment so I just pedaled, but I’m getting pretty excited about hauling ass up that thing. I did stop and take just a couple of pics. I figure there will be no stopping the next time I do it.
This was taken about 3/4 the way up. Never a lack for a view here.
Hope everyone is enjoying the photos. Anyone feeling they’d like to do a France camp? Talk to me.