Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 10 Col Du Lautaret and Col Du Galibier

On the way up Col Du Lautaret

The climb up to Galibier



At the top of Galibier

down the other side at the town of Valloire

Climbing Back up to Galibier

Fredo the Golden Retriever at the top of Galibier

Heading back down to Lautaret

Today we did one of the major rides for the trip in the region of Briacon where we are based for the next 5 nights .It is a great ride and a favourite of  .It was about to be the longest ride of the trip for me with a 110km return ride and an elevation in excess of 2500 to 2800m . The first stage to Lautaret isn't to bad starting from Briancon and rises gently for 28kms although with a slight headwind I did find it tough.As our group stretched out along the road leading to Lautaret ,there were 2 other cycling groups on the road and they happened to be Australians and one group was from Perth and had Malaga Cycles Jerseys. I tried to keep up with the 2 older guys in the group and managed for a while .They stopped for a break and I continued after a few shots but they soon caught up with me near the top. At  Lautaret we all regrouped and I had a break with a coffee and more pictures.

At Lautaret we were already at 2000m and as the pictures show the views were great.This route is also a major road to the next valley and the tunnel closure had caused a redrawing of one of the stages of the TDF this year .After the break we all started the climb to Col Du Galibier , a steeper climb and a straight up 8km climb. The Col du Galibier was just a lot of gradient but no harder than what we had faced. At the top we had a break for pictures and then I rode down to the village on the other side where I had Lunch with Lisa , Robyn and Kim as they were the only ones to come down. It was a nice hot day and after lunch we made our way back up Galibier. I got passed at the 4km mark and did not see them again till I got back to the Hotel. It was a slow slog up with some hard gradients of 8 and 9% .The last 1-2 kms were really hard and I had to have a break at the café just before the summit . I was pretty glad when I got to the top. It was about 4.30 in the afternoon having started at 8 am so it had been a long day even though we had breaks . At the other side of the summit I had another café break for a coke and played with a Retriever called Fredo before the fast descent down.I did not go too fast as the two cyclist from Malaga Cycles told me on a previous trip up Galibier a few years earlier there had been 2 cyclist coming off at speed on the narrow roads and one died. The roads are narrower and there was a lot of traffic because the tunnel was closed.By the time I was descending the traffic wasn't bad but I still did not go beyond 60kph because there were lots of turns and corners and not many long downhills anyway. From Lautaret it was a steady descent to Briancon and the traffic in town but made it back to the hotel by 5.20pm .The total bike distance was about 110km even though my Garmin died at 68km .It was a memorable day for the scenery and having climbed Galibier both ways and done nearly 3000m.The legs and back were tired.