Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July 17th - Stage 2 - Col de l'Iseran

Stage 2 will be another good test. With almost 8,000 ft of climbing it won't be an easy day, but it never gets quite as steep as the Col de Romme. The Col de l'Iseran is one of cycling's most legendary climbs. At over 9,000 ft it's the highest paved pass in all of France. The additional climb up to Mont Cenis will take us to the Italian border and add a few more miles for good measure.

View Larger Map

Distance: 65.15 mi
Ascent: 7,979 ft

More links:

Google Earth
Garmin Course (tcx)

The Bike Cam

One of my regrets thus far in the season is not taking any pictures or video from the rides I've been doing, so tonight I went down to Home Depot and created a "Bike Cam" mount for my Canon SD1000. It's basically a small clamp with a Giottos MH-1004 mini ballhead. Seems to do the job. I took it out for a very brief test spin, and the results were not too bad.

Please forgive the cheesey movie. I've been wanting to try iMovie '09 for a while too.

If you want to make the basic version of this bike mount, the parts will run you a whopping $3.14 at Home Depot. You need a 1" rubberized cable clamp (you'll find it near the cable and zip ties), a 1/4" x 1 1/2 or 2" aluminum machine screw, a couple of 1/4" washers and hex nuts. Just make sure the screw has the right threads for your camera or tripod head. If you want to add the mini ball head, you can get it from B&H for $15.

July 16th - Stage 1 - Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière

The first stage of my own little Tour de France is going to be a tough one. The distance is quite short, but we will be fighting jet lag and a 17% grade along with mid-afternoon heat. If there were time to come back and do this ride later in the week, I would.

If all goes well at GVA, we should be on the road by 1:00. It's a short drive to Bonneville where we'll start our first ride. You can click on the images below for a larger view.

To really appreciate this climb though, you have to check out a more detailed view of the first 5 miles of the Col de Romme. I've done a lot of steep climbs, and I've never seen a sustained 17% grade. I'm not really sure how that's going to work.

Distance: 43.5 mi
Ascent: 4,813 ft

Check out the links below for more info on the ride:
Google Maps
Google Earth
Garmin Course (tcx)

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Tour de France

Over the past two or three years, I've been spending a bit more time on the bike. In an effort to capture and share some of what I've been up to, I thought I'd give the blogging thing another try. This will be my 5th attempt at blogging, but maybe this time it will stick. This year I'm particularly excited about cycling as I'll be going over to France to experience the Tour de France first hand. It's still a couple of weeks away, but already I'm having a hard time sleeping at night. We leave on the 15th of July and will be returning on the 27th, and during that time we'll see several stages of the Tour, including the finish in Paris. Perhaps even more exciting is the opportunity we'll have to ride some of the most famous mountain climbs of the Tour. In nine days of riding we'll climb:
  • Col du Romme
  • Col de la Colombiére
  • Col de l'Iseran
  • Col du Telegraphe
  • Col du Galibier (twice)
  • Col du Mollard
  • Col de la Croix de Fer
  • Col de la Madeleine
  • Cormet de Roselend
  • Col des Saisies
  • Col du Glandon
  • l'Alpe d'Huez
  • Mont Ventoux
Of course, that's assuming we survive all nine days of riding. To get ready for the trip I've been putting in as many miles as I can handle, and I've also been studying the various climbs so I'll know what I'm up against each day. In a way, I'm looking at this as my own little mini Tour de France. As time permits, I'll start posting the plans for our ride. After each stage I'll try to provide an update to let you know how it went. Can't wait!