A Birthday Soaking 💦

Stage 17 161km Digne-les-bains to Pra Loup

Today was a special day ! Yes, the first in the high southern Alps, so far south in fact we were only 100km north of Nice and the Mediterranean coast, oh and i almost forgot until I saw the date on the Roadbook and cards tucked in it was my 41st Birthday.

6am alarm for our typical early breakfast, I opened a few cards that had been in my case since the 3rd July, let me repeat that, 3rd July! it’s just dawned on me that I have been in a sweat, chamois cream and energy gel fuelled bubble for the last 18 days and counting.

The start was warm and by 8.30am when we rolled out from the start proper it was already 22c with the Mercury peaking at 30c when we hit the 2nd of our 5 categorised climbs.

Image by Joolze Dymond 

I was taking it a little easier on the first few climbs as I have felt more fatigued than normal and having night sweats. 

Doctor Dale thinks I have been fighting some kind of viral infection, I don’t have time to be ill I told him! It has been robbing me of some top end that you need for climbing, so I rode at my tempo rather than lead out Mel for another raft of Strava QOM points to add to her impressive tally 



The Alps were beautiful however their beauty belies the fact that it is hard work riding up and down all day.

At 115km the first crack of thunder across the valley was heard, lightning and torrential rain followed just before the start of the climb to the high spot of this years tour (after the exclusion of the Galibier) the 2250m Col d’Allos.


on the col d Allos – Image by Joolze Dymond

Riding purposefully, I decided to forget about Dr Dales advice and stuck with Mel and we crested the summit together. 


I had seen this stage on TV as it featured in the criterium race in June. My childhood idol Greg LeMond previewed the descent from the Allos on his LeMond on Tour show. It looked very technical in the dry, but in the freezing rain, shivering and with carbon rims it was certainly a challenge that lived up to its billing.

 I descended alone as Mel decided to wait for the others. At the top it was 6c there was no way I was going to wait and get frozen especially as I was fighting a virus so I took off, well for about 500m when I stopped at a caravan and asked for yesterday’s copy of equipe to act as a barrier between my skin and my drenched jersey.

The final climb up to Pra Loup was only challenging for the first km as the legs were refusing to work after they got cold on the descent.

I am typing away this blog in the back of the lead car driven at speed by Bruno to our hotel. It’s a long 180km transfer, due to arrive at 8pm. 

Shower, food, massage and to check in with the family then bed to try to recover as its an Alpine 7 mountain climb monster tomorrow.

~ by theboxterboy on July 21, 2015.

One Response to “A Birthday Soaking 💦”

  1. […] come to town  Lance, me and Those fifteen seconds  Stage 15  GAP   2nd rest day Scrapbook   Birthday soaking   Make Hay   Cut Short   There can only be […]

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