I’ve been back in the states, in the DC metro area to be specific, for a week and I believe I’ve returned to an inferno that could just possibly be hell. My travels were long, my baggage lost, a cold obtained, and most disconcerting, my house was without power. Our power went off in that freak storm last Friday and did not get restored for a week! Now on an average day/week, I can do without power and all the amenities that come with it. But it has cleared 100 degrees daily here and don’t forget about east coast humidity! It truly has been misery. I cannot willingly keep my four-year old daughter and 13.5 year hold dog in a 90 degree house. We spent a couple of nights in a hotel and then descended on some unexacting and quite gracious folks. I was definitely lacking in sleep and for the first couple of days, have had trouble keeping my eyes open at any moment that I sit or lie. THEN as of Monday morning, our A/C met its demise. Really? Its only 91 today, so I have that going for us.
But enough of my woes…I wanted to post re the last day in France–a chance to bust a move (or gut) up Alpe d’Huez. We woke up to clouds and rain on Sunday. What? Rain on my parade? Well, I never. But in reality, it was perfect. I took a couple of campers down Alpe d’Huez and over and up the Col du Ornon, which Jimmy and I did on our first riding day. (Its too bad I didn’t describe that day which included hilarities in tunnels, gravel road and a gnarly descent, but I was wrapped up in my own demonic misery, but I digress…) This is a gentle, amiable climb. Remarkably I cruised right on up it at an average HR of 125–its amazing what a few days of truly aerobic training will do for one’s fitness. Anyhow, we descended in the rain (brrrr) and I took them around to the base of Villard Reculas (a climb I later learned has been affectionately nicknamed Villard ‘reck-your-ass’) and then I headed back around to Alpe d’Huez. Alpe d’Huez. Even as I write it, I can’t believe I climbed it. Twice.
Anyhow, I tried to keep the effort in check (be warned! the first 4k are steep and taxing!) and did fairly well. I really wanted to break an hour ’cause that means you are pretty damn good. I worked hard. Its a long climb. 21 switchbacks. That. Are. Numbered. It just goes on and on. Funny how it drags on when you are working substantially harder. With 3 k to go, I came upon an intersection. Oh no! I can’t remember which way to go! (If your could see it, you’d understand.) But wait, there is a sign! ”Sommit —-> 3k” Well, that must be it! As soon as I hit the next switchback, I knew I had made the wrong turn. S*it! There went my effort… no matter what, I won’t know MY time on Alpe d’Huez. So, the sign was for a regional bike race being held. The guy standing at the sign didn’t speak English, which is certainly not his fault. Pbbbb….. So, somewhat deflated, I motored on. This route takes you up and around to the right and up to the backside of the town at the top. When I hit the main round about, I was at 59:44. So I broke an hour. Jimmy felt I would have gone at least the same, if not faster on the correct route.
Well, I guess I’ll just have to go back.
Seriously, France camp anyone? I’m taking names.