Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Col de Romme & Col de la Colombiere

Where do I even begin? For those that don’t following cycling it’s probably hard to imagine why I would get so excited about today’s ride and today’s stage of the Tour de France. Every day of the Tour de France is like a giant parade. For over 100 miles you’ll find the roads lined with spectators. In the very best spots along the route, you’ll find tens of thousands of spectators crowded onto the hills to get the best view. It’s very much a party atmosphere. Today we were able to ride the second half of the route right before the pro riders and experience a little of what it must feel like to be in the Tour. The route is extremely well marked, and much of it is closed the cars. The fans are crazy and cheer you on with almost as much enthusiasm as they have for the real athletes. It’s hard to go too slow when people are running along side you yelling, “Allez, Allez, Allez!”

Even without the screaming fans, the route on it’s own would be amazing. With over 7,000ft of climbing, it’s not an easy ride, but the challenge is part of what makes it so great. This was the second time we tackled Col du Romme, but this time we were a couple of hours into the ride when we got the bottom. That made a big difference. It felt much steeper today – of course there were also huge gusts of wind that were literally blowing people off their bikes. We had multiple thunderstorms roll through which made everything that much more difficult – especially the descents. Fortunately I managed to stay upright, but I had a couple of close calls. After Col du Romme you still have to fight your way to the top of the Colombiere. This climb is supposed to be a bit easier, but the last two miles are brutal. Coming over the top and seeing the King of the Mountains banner over the road made it all worth while though. Just amazing.

Did I mention we've done over 35,000ft of climbing this week?

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