Here’s a report written by Paul Broyd from our most recent Alpine Introduction road cycling holiday….Enjoy!
The sun was beating down on me, and as I rode along my water was all gone and I was starting to slow down, the pedals getting harder to turn and I was thinking how did I get to be riding my bike here…
Let’s go back a bit.
The day started at breakfast as me and mark with Isobel, Jen and Stuart our guides for the week studied the route map of the adventure planned for today. Could we do it or fail in the process? The plan was to ride from the hotel at the top of La Toussuire to the summit of alp d’huez and the tour de France finish line via the col de la Croix De Fer.
I was in the team of 3 riders who were doing the 2 Hors category climbs today. The other guests had taken the bus transfer to do only one climb.
Now the time for fun. Bike ready. Bars and gels in the pockets. Bottles filled.
The descent down from La Toussuire into the low clouds. The flow of the corners as the speed picked up, as we when through the villages from yesterday’s climb in the blink of an eye.
Down and down we went to the route marker and the start of the 24km climb up to the summit of the col de la Croix De Fer. The cold from the descent now gone. So off came the arm warmers and gillets as we settled into steady rhythm for the ride to the summit at 2067 meters. The views over the valley as the road worked up the side of the mountain were breathtaking or was it the fact I was working hard on the 9% gradient. Soon we were at the summit and time for a quick couple of photographs, an energy bar and a drink.
The ride down from the summit was great with the snow on the right and the lake on the left as the speed on the Garmin shot up with the 20km of descent to ride.
Into the valley now blasting across the dam on Lac Du Verney as we headed towards the town of Boug d’Oisans with Mark and I taking turns to ride in the wind. Now I was getting excited as signs started to show the name of Alpe d’Huez and the climb of 21 hairpins over 14km at 7.9%.
Here we go as we passed the timing point at the base of Alpe d’Huez climb with a good luck shouted between us as the Garmin started. We worked up to hairpin 21 then 20 the pace steady as I moved away from Mark. Reading the signs on the corners with the names of the winners on the stages from the Tour de France I kept pushing the pedals working my way up the climb the corners passing one by one.
But then I started to fade and looking for my bottles for a drink only to find then empty. Oh no! Was it all over? As I rounded the corner I could see the Stuart the other guide with some water bottles, shouting and cheering me to finish the climb. So recharged with water I pushed on to the last 2km through town.
Around the last corner with the finish in sight the others were cheering me. Up the gears and working hard as I sprinted to the finish line.
Over the line and timer stopped. Now it was time to cheer Mark up the home straight to the finish line. Mark then appeared with a union jack morph suit out of his bag for the photo at the top of Alpe d’Huez.
My Skedaddle Du tour ride over but I had a great big smile on my face from a great day riding my bike.
A big thank you to Jen and Stuart Caldicott and Isobel for looking after me on this ride and the rest of the week I spent in the Alps with them.
Also a big thank you to Mark and the great people I meet on this trip.