After an extended chilled lunch talking tour routes with the cafe proprietor it was time for the final push. He was bemoaning the fact that just over the valley business was booming as the tour took the boring route, while he struggled. Personally I wax glad the camper van circus wasn’t ruining the views and remoteness of this beautiful climb.
The summit came whilst satisfyingly beating a few more American Mamils, and was pretty busy as expected with the tour in town. After photos and drinking in the views it was nuts downhill time, and once again attack mode. At the junction with the col de Lautaret road it all changed. Every available spot was stuffed with a camper ready for tomorrow’s tour fly by.
It was tempting to find a wild camp spot up here and wait it out, but that meant going downhill to get beer and food and bringing it back up, and I figured this wasn’t the place for race fireworks as the col d’izzard was further on.
Ride and profile, appears to be the single biggest continuous climb I’ve ever done, beating a previous climb in the sierra Nevada to Trevellez. My first Hors (all) Category HC climb too.
So it was a smash down the valley to Bourg D’oisans to camp and a cool outside bar showing the tour. As I checked in a van pulled up and a very scruffy looking Di di the Devil got out. A brief conversation while he asked if anyone spoke German, and getting a resounding no, off he went. I’m not sure if he lives in his van and scrounges showers but he looked pretty rough.
Tour watching the next day for 5 whole seconds as they passed by the bottom of Alp D’huez this year, but they left the road closed for hours so it made riding round town very relaxed.
Mr Hulk passes by as two Australian girls finish distracting Michael Mathews by leaning over the barrier as far as they could, well funny to watch.
Mostly a rest day and still baking hot so time for a swim and the end of the stage back at the bar, there are certainly advantages to being on tour in France when Le tour is about.
When it cooled down in the evening it had to be done, a gentle grunt up D’huez, but mainly just do I could go nuts on the way down. It was so quiet as we approached dusk and I attacked that descent with everything I had. Definitely the hardest descent as every hairpin involves heavy braking from flat out. The Hopes were superb, but boy did they start to smell, the compact gearing was a pain for the first time this trip as I really hoped for a quick time. So how did it go….Moment of truth…….in the 80’s for most of the DH segments not bad for a tourer. That’s another HC climb notched up then.