Half Etape leaves me on top of the world

Map reference: Oz en Oisans to Alpe D’Huez loop, 56k, 2,000m climbing

Carbs and caffeine: Magnum (ice cream not Champagne) in Alpe D’Huez

With six days to go this will be my last biggish ride. The climbing  represents roughly half the climbing I’ll be doing on the big day. And I am very, very pleased with the way I felt today. The heat reached the low 30s but with humidity at 25 per cent, I felt fine. The Italy trip did it’s job and pretty much inoculated me from the heat. I was climbing a lot more comfortably and faster than I had been in Rimini, thank heavens. It was a good thing for Husband too, as he has decided to be my ‘domestique’ on Sunday and he would have been driven potty by my heat stroke pace.

We had planned to do the Glandon from our chalet, but with the kids ‘abandoned’ at a climbing centre in Oz Station it seemed sensible to stay on this side of the mountain. It’s a very pretty ride too. Rather than doing the 21 bends of the main drag of Alpe D’Huez, we went down our hill, then traversed (it seems right to adopt some of the skiing lingo with all the winter sport evidence around us) to the next road towards Huez, then up, following the gradient of the more famous climb, then across again, following an absolutely stunning road with vertiginous views of the valley below until we hit the Alpe D’Huez road with six bends to go. 

The traversing bit will have broken up the climb a bit, so making it easier, but we then went beyond Huez to grab as much lift as we could. After a quick stop at the Spar for ice cream we then turned around and did the whole thing in reverse, climbing all the way up to Oz Station (the top of our side of the hill) to get the kids ‘out of hock’. They had had the most amazing day learning to climb in an adventure park built in the trees tops. Being active and learning new skills, they were in their element and madly excited when we turned up. I was pleased to find I had enough energy left to follow them around the park and admire their new talents, while indulging my eyes with more stunning views from the top of the mountain. So we are all feeling pretty ‘spiffing’ in the strange vernacular my seven-year-old has adopted.

Note to self: it’s a good place to be; a little cycling, good eating and hydrating and you should be tee-d up nicely to enjoy Sunday… except Toussuire which I gather just has to endured