Cycling the Alps – Day 4

Cycling the Alps – Day 4

 

Cycling the Alps – Day 4

 

Alastair McNeill

 

Cycling the Alps Day 4 along Les Routes Des Grandes Alpes, from Geneva to Nice

 

Day 4 in Bourg D’Oisans, allegedly a ‘rest day’, even though there seems to be the climbs of a certain Alp D’Huez (1250m) and then the Col de La Sarenne (350m).

 

Bourg D’Oisans is an ideal location to spend a day or two to break up the journey, get your bike cleaned and rest up. Though we had been hand washing our kit every night I have to admit that neither of us smelt at our best by now. A decent unpacking and deep cleaning of gear was in order.

 

Also, Ross was starting to get quite upset by the small specks of mud and dust on his bike so insisted on taking it all apart and cleaning each individual piece with baby wipes…

 

Cycling the Alps - Day 4
Ross grabbing a bite before he starts cleaning again

 

The possibilities for riding around Bourg are limitless, so once Ross had sterilised his bike and fixed my bike for me whilst I drank coffee, we headed to Alp D’Huez to see if we had what it took to get up it in under an hour. Ross had been there and got the tee shirt some years ago, though I had only ever ridden it with dead legs at the end of the Marmotte, so my memories of it were far from fond.

 
The traffic and high volume of riders of all nationalities in Bourg was in contrast to the quiet of the ride so far, and Alp D’Huez did start to feel slightly like Richmond Park on a Sunday morning; beautiful in parts but certainly not peaceful or relaxing.

 

Cycling the Alps - Day 4
Ross had sterilised his bike and fixed my bike for me whilst I drank coffee

 

By the top I felt like I had done just about all I could; not enough to stop the tiny French guys out for their Sunday morning ride cruising past me like they were on the flat, but enough to make me want to be able to fall off the bike and breath again. A couple of minutes over my target, but what can you do?

 

Cycling the Alps - Day 4
By the top I felt like I had done just about all I could

 

From the top of Alp D’Huez it’s a shorter climb along an unnamed road to the top of the Col De La Sarenne. I had watched last years Tour De France tackle it on day 18 and knew from the high profile complaints from a few of the riders that it was both beautiful and treacherous. The road surface is terrible, covered in cracks and gravel, with sheer drops along most of the narrow sections. However, the views are absolutely spectacular. I rode most of it at walking pace and just took in the scenery before the long descent back into Bourg.

 

Cycling the Alps - Day 4
Col De La Sarrene. Incredible scenery. Appalling road surface.

 

More next time with Day 5…

 
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Andrew

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