The Devils Playground

Stage 17; 183k

La Mure – Serre Chevalier

The first alpine stage as always took its toll! The opening climb, the 2nd cat Col d’Ornon was the very first mountain that I ever climbed back in 1999 when good friends Phil, Peter & myself camped at the foot of Alp d’huez and took on the Alps (loosely speaking) as there is only one winner, them!

The next climb was the Col de la Croix de Fer, an almighty testing HC ascent. Back 18 years ago, it almost broke me. I had to try and readdress the balance and had the chance two years ago although we had to climb it in a thunderstorm. Today the sky was blue and it was mid 30s. The climb is a tough one and requires a disciplined tempo as there are lots of changes of gradients including a big downhill in amongst its 24km length.

In 99 we also climbed the Galibier but from the easier (if there is an easier!) side. Today we had to take on the 1st Cat Col du Telegraphe as the stepping stone, topping out at 2642m and 35km in length. It’s a real monster, 2 hours of suffering!

I would have found it hard to imagine that these 3 climbs that I took on in isolation would make up one day on the bike many years later and that is after over 2500km of tough riding beforehand.

Talking of suffering, we also had our second crash. Ash (Neil Ashton) slipped on a hairpin bend right at the top of the Galibier descent. The classic road rash combo of hip, knee and elbow. He is ok and rode to the finish albeit sore.

It’s another big day tomorrow with a summit finish on another legend, the Col d’Izoard, so a day of gurning is on the cards

If you would like to donate then here’s my page-

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HaydenGroves3TourChallenge

Thanks from all at Cureleukeamia

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~ by theboxterboy on July 18, 2017.

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