Hello from Briancon, France! It's a ski town in the southeast that's been used for Le Tour many times.
We climbed the COL D'IZOARD today, which is 2,360m high (7,743ft). We started from around 1,200 meters from our campsite and climbed 20km at varying gradients (from 2% to 9%) to gain the other 1,200 meters (~4,000ft).
It was an ALL DAY AFFAIR.
The summit was beautiful even though it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When we reached the top, Ged said to me "You're with the big boys now." That made me smile. I feel like it's really hard to know if I'm progressing, so for him to say something like that means I must be doing something right.
We rode down into some small towns and villages. That's my favorite part of big rides.
There's always awesome bakeries with fresh baguettes and pain au chocolate, cold mountain water springs and friendly people who yell "allez" as you climb by.
The final 30km was awful. The wind picked up quite a lot and the sky opened up for an afternoon downpour. It's a good thing Ged leant me his Pearl Izumi jacket. Talk about Lifesaver.
I knew this ride really was progress by the end of it because there was an unexpected climb and I didn't freak out or yell when I saw it. I just asked Ged how much further and then kept on pedaling. That's a step up for me.
Headed to l'Alpe d'Huez tomorrow. Pray for me.