The greatest cycling trip of my life. Ten great days cycling in the Alps with great company.
Distance: 740 kilometres (460 miles) Ascent: almost 20,000 metres (+66,000 feet)
Major Cols: Col de Joux Plane, Col de la Colombiere, Col des Aravis, Col des Saisies, Cormet de Roselend, Col de l’Iseran, Col du Mont Cenis, Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier, Col du Granon, Col de l’Echelle, Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard, Col de la Cayolle, Col de la Bonette, Sainte Anne de Condamine, Col d’Allos, Col de Pontis, and a few other minor Cols.
Some Highlights? (map and slideshow at bottom)
#1 – Hail on Day One (yes hail!)
Welcome to the Alps! Climbing Col de la Colombiere we ran into a huge thunderstorm. As we got higher, it briefly turned to hail. Yikes.
There was really no other choice but to laugh and keep pedaling – as fast as possible.
#2 – Watching the Tour de France atop Galibier
Everyone watched the Tour de France in different places. Ralph and I braved a gauntlet of French police to make it to the very top of Col du Galibier.
As usual the crowds, the publicity caravan, the amazing views/climb – and the race itself – led to a memorable experience.
Too much fun!
# 3- Unbelievable scenery on every single day
Every single ride was stunningly beautiful and unique in its own way. The joke got to be that there was no way tomorrow could be better, but it always seemed to be.
There is nothing like cycling up high in the mountains.
# 4 – Great Company
I spent most of the rides either breathing heavy or laughing. I rode with loads of different people and had a great time absolutely every ride.
Yes, even during the hail.
#5 – Climbing Cime de la Bonette
It’s hard to pick a favorite climb, but everyone seemed especially excited and motivated cycling up Bonette – labeled as the highest road in Europe.
I was especially proud of Doreen, who had joined us in Barcelonnette, who persevered on her heavy touring bike to add this to her climb collection.
#6 – A Million Photo Opportunities
The Map: All the Cols, and a very rough route for 1st 6 days then we were based in Barcelonnette.