Wheelers and Thistle Alpine Adventure 2014

A lot has been posted on Facebook, but I know there are a fair few who don’t use it, so here’s some highlights of our week in the Alps.

Based in La Frene, half way up the Glandon for the week. After unpacking the bikes we were eager to get out so a run up to the top of the Col du Glandon (11K) and a quick photo stop and run back down. A cracking start to the week.

Day 2

A very hot day. Headed out to Albertville where we stopped for coffee in the medieval village that looks down on the town. Then a valley sprint until we hit the 26K climb of the Col de la Madeleine, it was very very hot and very very long. Much needed lunch and drinks at the top, except for Li who headed on down to the bottom for a beer and to catch Le Tour on the TV in the bar. Then to finish us off, the climb half way up the Glandon back home.

Day 3

Another beautiful day saw us tackle the stunning Lacets de Montvernier – hairpin climb cut into a cliff face! Stunning views across the ridge before dropping into St Jean du Maurienne for coffee. Then another beautiful climb to Albiez (11K) and onto the Col du  Mollard. Descent then takes you to the climb of the Col de la Croix de Fer (14K climb). The Glandon road was shut for resurfacing so the café at the Croix de Fer was where the run stopped. Fantastic day with sublime scenery.

Day 4

Off to see Le Tour. Descent of Glandon then a 25K team time trial on the main road to Vizille for a coffee stop. Then on to the closed road climb of Chamrousse (18K). The crowds were building as we climbed and was great being a small party of Le Tour as they cheered us on. Just after the Flamme Rouge we were stopped and had to take the side road to the finish to wait and then watch the pros show us how it’s really done. The descent off Chamrousse was “fun” as many cyclists, cars and campervans all headed down and back to Vizille.

Day 5

Dropped off at St Michel at the foot of the Col du Telegraphe a great 12K climb. Regroup at the top for the quick descent to Valloire and then the beast that is the Col du Galibier. The Galibier is an 18K climb that starts hard, gets very slightly easier then finishes very tough at 2645m high! A quick lunch stop before a freezing descent to Col du Luateret to see Le Tour coming past again. Then another ”fun” descent as again cyclists, cars and campers all headed off the mountain, this time with added tunnels too. Another team time trial back to Allemond to watch the stage finish on TV.

Day 6

Awake to a very wet day, but this wasn’t going to deter Jim OCD, so we headed out. We were dropped off at Allemond for a wet warm up to the foot of Alpe d’Huez, the legendary 14K climb and 21 hairpins. Although we were all soaked by the start, the rain stopped and made for ideal conditions for the climb.  It’s a tough one, with no respite but is a cycling mecca. Lunch stop at the top where Jim F and Graeme decided to carry on and descend via the Reculas back road to Allemond – stunning. Then we headed on up the Col du Glandon, all 22K of it. The rain started, then it got really wet, then it got foggy and by the time we reached the top you couldn’t see more than 50 feet in front. We were so glad Jim Greig and the team had stopped at the top to wait for us as we packed in rather than face a freezing, wet descent on newly laid chips. As soon as we arrived back home the hailstorms and lightening started!

Day 7

Another wet day, with no sign of a let up, so with heavy hearts we packed up the bikes for our return journey the next morning.

Stats Summary – We climbed 10 Cols in total, climbing 42,500 feet over 312 miles.

Videos and photos to follow soon……