Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stage Deux

After the lashing has subsided sun shone threw the windows into the stinky room accomodated by 6 males in teh grenoble hostel international.

large breakfast as with all stages of the tour consisted of the following staple foods:

Cereal with homo milk
beaucoup de pain avec chocolait chaud
jam honey and nutella
and i even took some coffee just cause it was free+

Set off at 830 and it didnt take long until the tours first detour. though unintended the solo rider was complexed and confused at grenobles highways at its outskirts. 30minutes of idling and i was on the right road headed to Le bourg d'Oisans or as i like to called it THE BOURG OF ASASSIANS. The road was frances D5. the D roads are sorta busy but not too bad. though this one had a lot of glass on it cause of all the truckers, tabernak! so it was only a matter of time till i got my first flat tire. it was then that i discovered that i only had one spare tube and not patch kit. i forgot it! freaking hell, one more flat and it was going to a rough start to the trip.

with relief i made it to Le Bourg without anymore mishaps. It was a gradual climb into the village but nothing stressfull. Had lunch, phoned and left a message with the next hostel and bought some tubes and patch kit at the one of many bike stores in the village. situated at the bottom of the alp du huez the place had a cycling theme to it and was crowded with yanks.

rolled up to alp du huez about 1230 and ditched the bag behind some rocks. was no way i was carry that up this monster. The climb consists of 21 switchbacks with an average grade of 8%. it was inspiring to ride it with all the history and recognizing the corners from watching the tour on tv. there was still lots of writing on the rode one of the best was in german saying Wo biest Ulrich? i think that means where is ulrich.

i rode steady up the climb until a little frenchie came up behind and passed me. ooh it was on after that cause no sooner did he pass me then he gave me the look as if sayzing "whats the matter dont got the plums". bam i got right on his wheel and sat there for some time until i felt i would leave him behind. made the push but he was right on my wheel. again and again i tried to shake him but he stayed there. we were on corner 3 when he attacked and as hard as i tried i couldnt stay with him. ahhh he was too strong for me in the end. there was a guy taking photos on the climb and 2 thirds up. when i find the website and post the link to my photo.

didnt spend long at the top although the frenchie gave me another look when i got up there. descended fast and grabbed my bag on the way. I still had 60k to go to the hostel and it was 2 oclock. shouldnt take to long i thought.

WRONG, welcome to french roads which are fu"*&ing hilly. The map i had had all the roads and mountain passes on it but no contours so i didnt really know what to expect in terms of each stage. well lets just say i climbed continously from the boourg to the top of Col du Lautaret for 2hrs 45 mins, INSANE. i couldnĂ t believe it. The road was in good shape but it just kept climbing and climbing. make matters worse the weather got grey and started to drizzle. then the drizzle turn to rain, rain to down pour to sleet at the top of the pass. i had no waterproof shit and was considering turning back to a little village i had just past to spend the night when i saw on the road THOR THOR THOR THOR THOR...writing from the tour...they must have come up here as well i thought. k, no way am i turning around now. reached the col at 2058m around 5 and descended like a demon pushing the biggest gear i could all out just to try and stay warm. i got to what i thought was villenuve where the hostel was around 530 but when i inquired at the info centre the lady said no, 8 more km. aint nothing worse then thinking your done and then having to get back on a cold seat drenched. i made it to the hostel around 545 and it couldnt have been sooner.

the hostel seemed deserted and i think it is during the summer. villenueve is a ski resort and not much else. Francois the man running the hostel showed me the room and told me there was only two other people stayzing tonight.

one of my roomates had been treking for 5 days and had just come down from the mountains. He laughed when i told him about the days ride and he said in a french voice, "vou know, vat road is always in zee tour. It is where the riders....(searching for the word)...manhood is tested."

well, now i know what im in for and if its manhood im here to test then so be it.

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