Raid Alpine Day 1

Photo: Cows in fields. Not something I see a lot of in Italy but in the Alps they are as common as cyclists.

As per yesterday’s post, two missions today:

  1. Learn everyone’s name
  2. Climb Col de Joux Plane and Col de la Colombière

One mission proved easier than the other. By breakfast I had learnt than I’m riding with Chris, David, Gabriel, Gregg, Jeremy, Ronnie, Simon, Steve and our two support van drivers and guides Paul and Thomas. Job done.

Photo: Ready to start an up and down week. L-R: Ronny, Colin, Jeremy, Steve.

Not so easy to climb the Cols. Due to us taking various routes to the start of the Col de Joux Plane (needless to say I followed the route exactly) I ended up last to start and remained in that position until 3k before the summit where I found a few riders waiting for me. We rode the last 3k together before a mighty descent into Samoëns for rubbish French coffee (this opinion was unanimous, including our two support guys, who are both French).

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Across the valley through Cluses before starting the Col de la Colombière. There were 17 kilometre markers to pass, each one telling you the elevation and the average angle of the climb for the next km. As I was born in 1960 I decided on a 60’s strategy. I kept my cadence at about 60 and my heart rate at a maximum of 160. This worked really well. I started last again but finished ahead of two riders. A consistent rhythm was a good strategy. It was tough though. My thighs were really suffering over the last 3km, especially as it ramps up to 11% during the final stages. I made it. A Tour de France climb, only not quite the same speed as the Pros.

I completed the climb in 1:24:59 on the day that a guy called Andrew Feather (ex elite cyclist) set a new Strava King of the Mountain time of 41:33.

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Dinner was early at 7pm as everyone was so tired and needed to get some sleep to recover for the next day’s climbing. We discussed the best and worst bits of France, Italy and the UK. If only we could pick the best bits of each, what a fantastic place to live that would be.

Year to date

11,253km / 97 rides / 116 km average per ride

109,936m elevation gain (12.4 Everests)

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