Monday, July 19, 2004

Alpe friggin d'Huez 1

> sunday am we grabbed a quick breakfast at a cafe for about 3 euros, coffee, oj, and 2
> pastries...good stuff, especially the cafe.
> then we headed over to notre dame for some quiet meditation in that beautiful old mean
> really old> cathedral. then it was off to the jardin des tuilleries by the louvre to
> chill out in a lounge chair, people watch, and read l,equipe to catch up on the tour.
> tyler abandoned...bummer. mayo al,ost quit but was talked back onto his bike by his
> teammates. voeckler has been amazing. i even bought a brioches la boulangere cap
> today
> to support the team.
> the train from paris to grenoble was great. we set the ipod on random and watched the
> scenery go by. it,s now time to remind you that these euro keyboards are a mess. i
> don,t have time to correct all the typos. the US really needs to get a rail system
> like
> the euros. its really a pleasant way to travel. fyi, canada has it figured out too.
> via rail rocks.
> from grenoble we rode in the trek travel van up to alpe d,huez. it was a nice preview
> of
> the 21 switchbacks and the amazing scenery. we had a nice, if a bit long, dinner and
> hit
> the sack.
> this am after breakfast we saddled up and rode down the mountain. the descent is crazy
> with tons of bikes, pedestrians , and cars zooming down the mtn. at the
> bottom we headed down the d91 towards les deux alpes, the galibier, etc for a warm up.
> even the road up the valley is a pretty good climb. on the way back to start the climb
> we ran into our friends jen and dean from baltimore. small world!!!
> we arrived at the base of the climb, wished each other luck, and started pedalling.
> the
> first part from the town of bourg d'oisans is easy but once you make the left onto the
> climb proper it's a big wake up call! steep steep steep!!!
> i rode a steady, yet pretty hard pace the whole way up in my 42x25 with my HR pegged
> right around my lactate threshold of 164. MY MAX hr IS 177 so 164 hurts pretty good.
> however i had good power the whole way up and aside from getting stuck behind cars and
> bikes a few times did a pretty good tempo the whole way, not racing speed, but solid
> tempo. i could have used a 39x25 a bunch of times but i made do with the bigger gear.
> the road was lined with people, crazy people, who have been camped there for days,
> drinking, singing, and grilling out. the dutch especially are all over the moountain
> getting crazy. they make a nascar tailgate look like a knitting party...not that i've
> been to any knitting parties, mind you. 8-)
> i finished the time trial in 1hr 16min after getting a bit off course near the top, but
> i
> was happy. only a handful of people passed me on the way up, though one of them was a
> man of at least 60yrs old who was just hammering. much respect to him and his genes.
> i turned around to ride back to one of the switchbacks to film Melanie riding up. i
> hadnt gotten very far at all, like maybe 1km, when i saw her just tearing up the road,
> wearing her cowboy hat and riding right next to Kevin Livingston! they were chatting,
> but they were really moving. i turned around and tried to film them riding the last
> km,
> but i had to hammer just to keep them in filming range. Melanie finished in 1hr 25min
> and i tell you she was not feeling good this morning, but she had a terrific climb!
> kevin told me that she go into a good rhythm and was cruising up the steep pitches.
> incidentally, the year that Pantani set the record up alpe dhuez with 37 minutes and
> change kevin finished 20th not far behind. he said they ride the steep parts <8> percent grades in the 39x23 but they are pedalling at 90+ rpm. that's moving.
> well that's about all for today. we're grabbing dinner up here. we are staying up on
> top of alpe d'huez until thurs. tommorrow is a big day with 3 big climbs and probably
> another trip up AdH! ouch!
> then wed the mountain will be in lockdown for the time trial and they expect 1 million
> people lining the climb. that's completely nuts, but the Tour is nothing if not a big
> crazy spectacle.
> a bientot,
> Chris and Melanie

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