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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Food for Singlesprocket

Alp Cola at about $5 each on the top of our first climb of the trip, Col de la Forclaz.

Drinkware Glass Liquid Glass bottle Bottle


A bakery that saved the first two days of our trip (affordable real food, pasta, salads, pastries, baguettes, etc.)
Window Property Real estate Road surface Town


Small packages of candy thrown at our feet from the pre-tour caravan

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Window shopping at a bakery in Samoens (at the foot of the Joux-Plane)
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Where in France?

Annecy: On the shore of Lake Annecy, just South of Geneva
Body of water Waterway Town Neighbourhood Property

We climbed the Col de la Forclaz twice, and the Cret de Chatillion (aka Semnoz) from both sides. Three's also a beautiful bike path beside the lake.

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Alpe D'Huez; We stayed here three nights. On the first day, we rode the back side of the mountain (Col de Sarenne) Mountainous landforms Highland Hill Mountain range Slope
, and Deux Alpes. The nexy day we descended another way through Villard-Reculans

and then rode the Alpe D'Huez as a TT. We also got to see some of the 1000 MTBers training, qualifying for the MegaAvalanche race that took place the day we left. On the way out, we rode Col de Glandon/Croix de Fer.
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Samoens: Last four nights. We stayed literally at the foot of the Joux Plane. We rode that climb twice, as well as the Morzine-Avoriaz TDF climb twice on the day of the Tour. we rode downhill MTBs one day, but it wasn't as good a location as the Tourist Office and rental shop had led us to believe. On the last day we did the Col de Colombiere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
racergurl said:
I get dizzy just looking at that first picture! Welcome back coach!!
That shot is of Bourg D'Oisans and the first few switchbacks of the road the Tour takes up to Alpe D'Huez. It is taken from a different way down the mountain.
 

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nice pics.
europe is so biking friendly and always great food.
we've been to austria germany switzerland and luxembourg and you can safely bike anywhere.plus lots of neat history
 

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Nice pictures coach.

My son is working in Europe this summer. He rented a bike in Switzerland and went downhilling for the day. He sent me this....:sad:
 

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I like this thread. Thanks for sharing.
 

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HSCoach2 said:
We also got to see some of the 1000 MTBers training, qualifying for the MegaAvalanche race that took place the day we left.
Oh man, I would LOVE to try the Megavalanche! It looks SO wicked!

However, back on topic, it sounds like your time in France was well-spent! Would you say that the climbs were:

A. Easier than you feared.
B. About what you expected.
C. Harder than you'd imagined.
D. GASP! :eek:
 

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I thought of this post, and the thought of taking a trip to France, as you did, and climbing Alp D'huez, as I was climbing up the escarpment on my road bike and came to the conclusion that I'd probably have a heart attack attempting to ride those hills.

So I too, am interested in garage_monster's question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
garage monster said:
Oh man, I would LOVE to try the Megavalanche! It looks SO wicked!

However, back on topic, it sounds like your time in France was well-spent! Would you say that the climbs were:

A. Easier than you feared.
B. About what you expected.
C. Harder than you'd imagined.
D. GASP! :eek:
They were about what we expected, which is to say difficult, but not impossible. We saw literally thousands of other cyclists out there on the same roads as us (on some climbs, just a few, on others, such as Alpe D'Huez or Avoriaz on Tour day, it was packed), all climbing at their ownpace, enjoying the views.

Knowing that it was a unique experience ( I refuse to call it "once in a lifetime", too depressing), we were determined to climb everything possible whether we exhausted ourselves or not. We didn't get to do Galibier although we were only 40 km away from the summit at the bottom of Les Deux Alpes.
 

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Climbed L'Alpe D'Huez back in the summer of 2007.



I had only bought a road bike about a month before, didn't own any cycling clothing (don't know how I went 15 years without realizing the benefits!). I was about 1.5 months into doing more than just riding casually on a weeknight and weekend and actually 'training'. If you could call it that. So I was in descent shape, but nothing spectacular.

Clocked time was 1:22 up.



This is a picture from the first 4 km, which were brutal. It actually looks steep in the picture! About 10% over this section, but once you get past this, the rest settles into a nice 6-7%, which as far as I'm concerned is fairly easy to spin with the proper gearing. Huez is also one of the steeper climbs, most others were not as bad. I personally don't mind climbing, so I'm biased, but I didn't find it overall that tough! Then again, selective memory might be setting in right now. But really, with some determination they are all possible.

The thing that made it easier to make it up was all the other people around. All shapes and forms. I still remember a young woman who did not appear to be in great shape and she was rather large. She was on a mountain bike probably running 20x34. She couldn't have been going more than 4 km/hr and I could tell she was suffering. But you could tell she wanted to make it. When I passed her, my pain, suffering and sense of accomplishment seemed pretty insignificant.



Mountain Moo's at the top of Huez.



Drove Galibier (and others).



We stayed at a B&B up the Col de la Croix de Fer. They had the best dinners. It catered to cyclists and motorcyclists. Every evening the dinner table was filled with lots of dutch, german and belgian cyclists, all discussing the climbs. The various home made Eau de Vie with all sorts of flavouring was awesome after the meals.

There is a group of dutch guys who still don't believe I made it up in that time. I don't blame them considering I was renting a bike and what I was wearing. I doubt the people I rented the bike from believed I made it either when I returned it 2 hours later. Likely figured I gave up at about 4 km.

In the works to return in the near future and do a lot more riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The ONLY climb we rode hard was Alpe D'Huez, because, well, you just need to know how fast you can do THAT particular climb in. As CptSydor says, the first 4 km are very hard, not helped by the fact that the first 2 (of 21 numbered plus three more in town) switchbacks are long.

I met my sub 1 hour goal, finishing in 59:00 exactly, and would have been a little faster without cramps or street markets in the last 2-3 km. Wheel Mode of transport Road Transport Land vehicle


Mode of transport Tent Market Marketplace Trade


These are stills captured from my helmet cam, so that was exactly what I was looking at as I tried to find my way through the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"Moar" for Garage monster

For some the Alpe D'Huez time trial ends on this street, as there is a big Finish Line banner in front of the Tourist Office (you can see it in the background). The actual TDF finish line is another 1.5 km through the village. This street market blocking the route sure added a memory. Leg Public space City Tourism Marketplace


This is another helmet cam video capture. We went with Alpine Tours, run by two local cyclists/MTBers (one was on a tag-team in the Spring 8 hour). This is us on "wear the Alpine jersey for pictures day", descending a less travelled route from Alpe D'Huez to Bourg D'Oisans
Tire Bicycle helmet Bicycle jersey Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Helmet

Yes, I have to work on my helmet fit.
Clothing Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim Sports equipment

Need more cowbells? How cool to hear a faint sound getting louder as you climb, round a switchback and see (and hear) a field of cows near thetop of an Alpine pass?
Grass Natural environment Vertebrate Pasture Bovine


On the way down from Alpe D'Huez (same road as earlier group shot). We climbed Col de Glandon/Croix de Fer later that day
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HSCoach2 said:
For some the Alpe D'Huez time trial ends on this street, as there is a big Finish Line banner in front of the Tourist Office (you can see it in the background). The actual TDF finish line is another 1.5 km through the village.
Glad to hear you went all the way. I was disappointed to see most people stop at the non TDF line. I luckily didn't have to fight my way through a street market
 
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