What a beautiful way to start this trip! We rode a bus from Grenoble into the mountains to La Grave (very tiny mountain town), where we had lunch and our bikes fit to us. Trek had a Domane 5.9 ready to roll for me, and in spite of it being a touch small it was a good ride. We started out of town, through a quick tunnel, and some of us chose to make the run up to Le Chazelet for a little extra distance and climbing.
When we got to a spot just above the town, we stopped to turn around and I met two of my fellow riders who are here from Austin (Steele and Todd), so we posed for a TX pic.
Here is a quick shot across the valley to the glacier before heading back down toward La Grave and then turning up the road to Col du Lautaret. Nice spot. A little sad news was that one of our guides, Tara, took a spill on the descent and gave some of her skin to the French Alps – hopefully all is well, but I’m guessing she gets van duty for the remainder of the journey.
After riding a little way up the Col, I took a shot of myself and grabbed a little video with the iPhone (GoPro working too, but I haven’t gotten to the footage yet).
And this is what I look like after just getting to the top of the Col du Lautaret. Good to work the travel out of my legs (see ride profile at the end of this post). Somewhere around 3500ft of climbing with around 15mi of riding. Big hills – and getting bigger tomorrow. I enjoyed wearing my GPM10 kit that I got while training with them on Mallorca – hoping to run into them here if luck is good. Yes, I know I should have zipped my kit before a photo. . .
Speaking of big hills, and getting bigger tomorrow – see the road cut in this photo? That is the “easy” side of the Galibier, which we ride up in the morning (8km) down the other side (17km) then up Telegraphe (easy side) down, then back up (hard side) followed by, you guessed it, hard side of Galibier on the way back to the hotel.
Some scenery – this is the view from the balcony of my hotel room. Very nice! I heard some bells through the open door, and after looking around I saw the sheep grazing on the hill. The shepherd came and got them a bit later and they literally RAN down the hill – I was surprised none of them went tumbling.
After a happy hour to get to know each other better, a bit more about the trip, and dinner with the Columbians (Nico, Juan Carlos and Hernan), I stood in front of one of the Tour bikes that are all over the place for a quick photo op and then headed back to the room for some needed R&R before a huge day climbing up Galibier and Telegraphique. I’m glad to be here, to celebrate having (mostly) overcome the injury suffered in 2010, and while I wish I were on my bike, the guides have taken great care of me and my needs.