(if you prefer video to reading, scroll to the bottom of this post :))
I woke up this morning hoping I wouldn't have to ride my bike because the weather would be too shitty. I was wrong. I peered out of my side of the tent and saw the sun shining. Crap.
After I returned from the grocery store with our morning pains au chocolat, I saw my bike resting against the car, all ready and tuned for our ride. What ride exactly, I wasn't sure.
After a few moments of debating, I told Ged I was only going to ride up the Col du Telegraphe, then bid him farewell as he pushed on to the Col du Galibier. I figured a 12 km climb averaging 7.3% would be a good enough workout.
I left the campsite 20 mintues before Ged, so that we could reach the top of the Telegraphe around the same time.
Try not to be too jealous of my socks.
The morning was quite chilly despite the sunshine, hence the layers. I also had a windproof jacket tucked into my jersey.
The ride up the Col du Telegraphe was a good one: not too difficult that I had to use the triple, not too easy that my legs and lungs weren't laboring.
My legs were super stiff when I reached the top and got off the bike for pictures. I'm not sure why they felt so tight, but I had to stop and stretch for a while to feel normal again.
Then came decision time. Would I A) Drop back down to the campsite and probably fall asleep or would I B) Follow Ged on to the Galibier. Let me say that I really didn't want to do option B. The tightness in my legs freaked me out a little and plus, it's a fricken' long way to ride a bike uphill.
Well, I rode on with Ged. I would've felt a little guilty for making him do it by himself and I didn't have anything else to do.
The road dropped down 5km into Valloire then it was up, up, up. Ged gave me a 30-minute head start this time.
Honestly, the first 2/3 of the ride wasn't bad. Pretty gentle gradient and nice temperature.
The hellish part came when I was 5km out and started to struggle with the gradient. My legs just wouldn't turn as easily as they were before. In the last few km I was able to see the top, and seeing those switchbacks up to the finish took a toll on my sanity.
All I could think was "This is total shit" and "This looks way more than 3km to the top." I even let out a few curse words which the Dutch guys passing me giggled at and nodded in agreement.
After cursing the heavens for a whole kilometer, I finally saw Ged 1km from the top. I passed him and he quickly caught up to me to shout words of encouragement.
Once I reached the top, I silently vowed never to do this evil climb again. At least, not this year. Breathing was really difficult for me because we were so high up and there wasn't a lot of oxygen. After I cried and drank some water, it was time for pictures and hot chocolate.
The descent was absolutely freezing. Couldn't feel my fingers, which made me nervous about braking.
We made a quick stop in Valloire to visit the HAY PEOPLE (and to get baked goods at the boulangerie).
Here's the video as promised:
Now safe and sound (and showered) back in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. I see a big bowl of pasta in my future...