Day 14 Stage 13 Fri 11/07/14 Sainte Etienne - Chamrousse 200km
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Another early start in the cold and wet. Brilliant breaky tho..... I do enjoy a good breaky!
The first 40km were a bit damp but ok and just a small Cat4 climb to complete. I then joined a fast group to do the next 40 km but in all honesty it was a bit much for me, so for the 80-130km section I dropped back and rode more steadily with the usual gang. At 100km we passed the BBIF (best bakery in France! It had just been awarded and was on the TV during Sarah and Phils recce!) where everyone stopped for a patesserie!
Above: A typical food stop at the side of the road. Dump bikes, grab food, consume as many calories as possible, and go.....!
I then joined a newly joined guy called Simon. It was a god ride mainly downhill before the Cat1 ascent at 160 km. it was a killer climb 16 km and v steep. But we made it. All that was left was the final drop down to Grenoble and 19 km up to Chamrousse ... to complete the 210km's with our 1st HC (Hors Categorie - without categorie = v v steep!) ascent. I rode this section with Rich, Steve and Darragh from the remnants of the banana gang. It was 20 degC in Grenoble but as we rose the 1,700m to Chamrousse. The temp slowly dropped to 7 degC and the mist set in.... COLD and wet again. Finished at just after 7 pm.... 11.5 hrs after starting.... What a day. 210 km 4,000m ascent and that's after 12 long days...... It's getting tough
Tartiflette for dinner in a ski resort hotel was awesome..... and that was the end of another basically Great days riding.
Tomorrow is another 180 km where we pass by the famous Alpe d'Huez (but thankfully no need to climb!)
However, it's another 4,000m plus and Two HC climbs and a Cat 1 !!! Bring it on... Tired legs will just have to be ignored....
Today was however, rather spoilt at the end when I learnt the news that my mate Andy had crashed just before FS4, and his tour is over. He was taken to hospital in Grenoble for a check up and thankfully just bruises etc. We went to collect him after supper as he was OK to be released. His bike is badly broken and he is too sore to carry on. Such a shame. I feel quite empty. Will miss you mate.