The Tour de Force

The Tour de Force

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Do It Again...Stage 20: Modane to Alpe D'Huez...Saturday 18th July 2015

Because we got to climb up to The Croix again. Yeay!
Only two climbs today, but it is a nailed-on Hollywood finish up The Alpe...21 hairpins of er, pleasure?
Not overly looking forward to going up to The Croix again, hah-hah-ouch!

We had a leisurely 7am coach transfer away from Le Toussuire's Savoy to our official stage start point in Modane. You could tell it was almost like the end of term with a very buoyant, if not positively giddy atmosphere. Let's just stay upright though, please. We started with a long and fast descent before our first feed-stop and getting stuck in to our second bash at La Croix de La Fer. 19 miles of joy!
There is light etc...
Strangely I didn't find it too awful, mainly because with my posterior problems abating a little it meant that I could sit for longer periods which meant a slightly improved climbing effort. That said, Andy and I and pretty much everyone else needed a cafe stop/fountain stop to break-up the two hours plus climb in rising temperatures. Standard, then...
Chuffed to get this climb immense downhill follows. Got 53.6mph on it, hah-hah!
Le Tracteur makes his front wheel flex under a sprint to finish at La Croix. At almost 3 mph, hah-hah!
As with the previous day's finish at La Croix we didn't hang around too long: it was breezy again but also we wanted to enjoy the superb downhill that just went on forever. Albeit with a naughty section of uphill halfway, hah-hah! I clocked almost 54mph on the run down but we were made to look like we were stationary but a couple of Dutch kids. I dread to think how fast they were going: we caught and steam-rollered them on the following flat section on the run into Bourg D'Oisans. We also caught up with Chris and Annabel and enjoyed a crème glacée with them prior to saddling-up for another tilt at The Alpe. 
Just the best descent!
This marks the official start of the climb up to Alpe D'Huez. Hello again, hello...
I was last here in 2012 during The Haute Route: some of you may remember that THIS happened: stop sniggering, hah-hah! Anyway, I genuinely was really looking forward to this climb: words like iconic and legendary are thrown around a bit easily but are spot-on in this case. We had to watch ourselves as the temperature would reach 42c/ was an oven and how glad were we of spotting a fountain? Um, quite.
21 hairpins. Just ridiculous in temps of up to 42c!
Not much in it but Chris enjoyed the climb a tad more than Team Lanterne Rouge...
A week early and some Dutch fans are in place.
Will be carnage here on Saturday, hah-hah!
I know.
The final climb into the resort. Savour this!

Andy, Chris, John and myself regrouped on the final few hundred yards and rode together, arms over shoulders across the deserted and nondescript finish-line, which was the right move. We then decided to head to a cafe to watch the rest of that day's Tour stage live. And also re-hydrate obviously...
We took over a cafe near to the finish to cheer home our riders. The owner couldn't believe his luck. #sixeurosapintgoldbentleyonorder
It worked brilliantly because the cafe was just before the final roundabout and left-turn so we got to shout and cheer at any riders about to finish the final 'gloves off' stage. More than a few of them thought we were the finish line and tried to dismount for a beer but they were sent packing, hah-hah!
Our numbers swelled over the next hour or so and frankly the cafe owner could not believe his luck. And at 6 Yo-Yos a pint I'm not surprised: we had to eventually settle two tabs totalling almost 800 Euros, but it was right up there as the best laugh of the whole tour!

The celebrations continued throughout and after dinner: George and Chris were clearly on a mission. Chaps, we do still have a 5am alarm tomorrow...ah boll**ks, we'll worry about that later, hah-hah!

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I do have a bit of previous...

2014: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to France, then La Bicinglette...6 x Mont Ventoux in a day!

2013: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to Austria, then the worst climbs in The Dolomites!

2012: The inaugural Haute Route sportive from Geneva to Nice, followed by the worst Pyrenean climbs!

2011: 3500 miles across North America...coast to coast!

2010: 1600 miles from Gibraltar to Blackpool!

2009: 1000 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats!

2008: 250 miles from Blackpool to London!

2007: 100 miles around Manchester!

2006: 0.5 mile to corner shop!