Only 2 days to go now and the excitement is mounting. The boys have been frantically shopping for energy drinks and gels and bars and anything else that might help get us to the end of the ride! The forecast is for hot sunny weather so dehydration is one of the biggest fears – the beers will have to wait until after the race.
Training has been mixed, each of us with different reasons for not having prepared perfectly. Giles has just become a Father again so isn’t sleeping so well. Nicko has done most of his riding in the UK, not that hot and not that many huge mountains but he’ll be OK. Dougie had his bike stolen and is now riding on a trusty old (heavy) stead that has started making a lot of noise since he cleaned it! I am not sure what my reason is, I guess lack of training is a good excuse to have up your sleeve for wibbling!
There will be a full report of the big day (Monday) so watch this space.
On the 12 July the mighty Col dâ€™Iserane was closed to motor vehicles from Val dâ€™Isere up to the Col itself at 2770. For a glorious few hours the road cyclists of the higher Tarentaise Valley were able to dance, spin, grind or toil their way to the summit of the highest road pass in western Europe.
Hundreds of people made the special effort to ride to the top and the conditions were generally favourable with a tailwind on long sections of the ascent. Amateur cyclists should be happy with any time under the hour, recorded form the tourist office round about to the summit (G. Lewis mildly happy with 58.15 mins). Like a lot of the famous cols in the Savoie region, the Iseran has a timing set up on it so that tourists can measure themselves against the clock.
Conditions at the top were sunny and not only could the cyclists see down in to the remote Haute Maurienne, but could also check out the summer skiing on the Pissaillas glacier, running again through the val dâ€™isere lift company.
The closing of the D902 was all part of Val dâ€™isereâ€™s effort to entice tourists to the resort in the summer. As well as this they stage fetes de musique, expositions, and the complete range of sports for the whole family. I was lucky to play for the Rugby team in the val dâ€™isere annual football tournament. The rugby boys came dead last. Hey ho.
On 20th July 2009 Dougie, Nicko, Paul and Giles are taking part in the 17th Etape du Tour www.letapedutour.com/2009/ETDT/presentation/us/index.htm
The Etape is a stage of the Tour de France that is open to the public, the roads are closed and around 8000 people take part in the event. The Tour itself will be riding the exact same route five days later in the penultimate and deciding day of the â€œGrande Boucleâ€.
It is going to hurt, 170km on a bicycle with the final 20 kms climbing more than a vertical mileâ€¦ouch! You can follow their training and race performance on the tdc Twitter account www.twitter.com/tdcski