‘Make hay while the sun shines’

Gap to Saint- Jean de Maurienne 186km

There was a rude awaking in Gap as we climbed up steep 11% ramps for the first 6km, always a joy when you have stiff legs from the day before.

You know it’s a big day when you get to the 100km mark and have already climbed over 2000m in elevation and still haven’t been up a proper mountain. 

It was another beautiful sunny start, 22c at 9am increasing to a strength sapping 35c as we climbed the aptly named Col de la Morte, (climb of death) the descent was a fast and fantastic 15km tree lined affair that I took at full pelt behind the skilful Bruno piloting the lead car. 

Speed and caution in equal measure as the name of the climb would suggest. 

Onto the main valley road which curiously looks down hill, however it is an illusion of mountain perspective as it was a steady 2% grade up to the foot of the day’s big one, the iconic Hor Category Col du Glandon. 

The sky started to turn grey just on cue as we started the climb. Like déjà vu, 50km to go as per yesterday, the heavens opened with impressive sheet lightning and acoustic thunder bellowed across the mountains. The 13% slopes of the mountain were awash with water and looked more like an amusement park ride. 

I have bad memories of this climb when I was out with two cycling friends Phil and Pete, some 16 years ago. ‘She’ got the better of me then so I had unfinished business with her, this time I arrived with over 3000km in my legs from recent weeks.The freezing rain only sharpened my resolve and I climbed purposely with the pocket Dynamo Mel and a slim French rider who was a strong climber.

Over the top I grabbed a thick long sleeve Jersey and buckled up tight. The 21km twisting descent was fairly treacherous with torrents of water, hands numb and body shaking, I made it down safely and without the need for a rubber ring. I felt I was robbed of another iconic descent in the dry.

Just 10km to go and the new dramatic climb of the Lacets  de Montvernier, a tribute to the art and science of alpine road building. 18 hairpins in 4km, it was going to be an exciting finale. but ‘la route ferme’. there had been a small land slide and the climb was shut. We were re-routed around, potentially it might be also missed tomorrow for the race proper.

Just 2 more big days in the mountains, we are hoping  the weather clears as it’s still thundering and coming down biblical scale as we head to Grenoble on the team bus.

~ by theboxterboy on July 22, 2015.

One Response to “‘Make hay while the sun shines’”

  1. […] 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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