Our first ride in the Alps was into Tour de France territory. Leaving Alpe d’Huez we rode upwards for about 40 minutes, over a col (name I can’t remember) and down into a valley with the huge dam across the river – the Barrage du Chambon. This was our staging point for our assault on the Col du Lautaret and the Col du Galibier. The Tour will pass through these roads tomorrow and there was a huge amount of traffic – bikes, cars and motor-homes- along the way The climb to Col du Lautaret was pretty gentle (average about 6%) and about 20 klms long. We stopped at Col du Lautaret to refuel at the cafe and then those who were fitter than me, rode the last 8 klms to the Col du Galibier – a famed Tour de France climb were Cadel Evans tightened his grip on the Tour yellow jersey in 2011. I rode up in the car so I could get photos for the blog. I’m still suffering a bit from bruised ribs which restrict my breathing, but have no excuses. Our return from the Cols was set at a cracking pace punctuated for an hour or so by lunch at the little town of La Grave. Along the way we passed though a number of quite long road tunnels which was interesting.
Tomorrow will be a big day. We are meeting up with the Tour de France. We are going to ride to the first major climb of the day, and then settle back to see the Tour go by. Then we’ll head for the nearest TV in Borg d’Oisans to see the finish of the Tour.