Thursday, 2 August 2012

Simon's Alpine Challenge: The Big One

[caption id="attachment_3884" align="alignleft" width="640"] It's a long way down![/caption]

Today was the big one! - the Col du Galibier. We started out at 08:00 to get as many miles under our belts before the sun was high in the sky. On route to the Galibier we had to pass over the Col du Telegraphe, which was quite tough as it is 12 km long with gradients in the region of 8%. After the Col du Telegraphe we descended into the town of Valloire - a tacky ski resort. We couldn't wait to get out of it.

After Valloire that is where the real climbing began - 18km uphill to the top of the Col du Galibier.The first 10km were hard but the last 8km were the real killer with gradients in excess of 9%! For the last 2km I had no "fuel in the tank" and the air was getting thin so I really struggled over the final kilometer. Despite all pain we had to go through we finally made it to the summit about 7 hours after we had started out.

The views from the top were stunning and we could see Mont Blanc clearly in the distance. After a very rapid descent of the Col du Galibier we stopped of at bar on the Col du Telegraphe for a very well deserved beer, or two! We had a fantastic descent of the Col du Telegraphe, even passing cars and motorcyclists on the way down.

Arrived back at our hotel about 19:00 - a very long but very memorable day!


As promised I have uploaded a video to YouTube showing our descent of the Col du Glandon. [If the embedded video above doesn't work, then try this link instead. It's just over 8 minutes long - Ed]

Tomorrow [i.e. today, Thursday - Ed] is a rest day then on Friday we will be doing Alpe d'Huez.

Wow Simon, you've given a prime example  of where there's no pain, there's no gain! It must be worth all the effort to be in the clear mountain air and sunshine, looking at that stunning scenery.

As Simon's account of his final day will reach Smiths News over the weekend, we'll be publishing his final Guest Post next week. Sounds like we're in for another treat :)

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