Stage 14: Grenoble to Risoul (177 km)
BRUTAL! That’s all I can say about today’s stage. At one point we had been cycling uphill for 2 solid hours, when we passed a sign indicating ‘uphill for the next 34 km’. Another very long day, we didn’t finish until 9 pm. We are undoubtedly getting stronger, but we are also getting more tired as well – it’s really hard to predict at the end of each day how we’re going to feel at the start of the next. The first couple of hours this morning were hard for both of us but once the legs finally warmed up we found we could keep pedalling and both completed our second Alpine stage. We started at about 700m and spent the day climbing up to 2000m, down to 1100, back up to 2000m etc, etc…. Beautiful Alpine views and snow sparkling in the sunlight. Being at higher altitudes the temperature wasn’t so high – 28 degrees much preferable to 36.
We are incredibly grateful to the official Tour staff who drive round putting up direction arrows in time for each of our day’s rides – what would we do without them? This morning I stopped to speak to them and asked if I could have a couple of arrows for souvenirs. The chap was very friendly and interested – ‘pas de problem’ – and handed me the arrows. Seeing them on the side of the road I hadn’t appreciated quite how big they are – no chance of sticking them down my cycling top. So I found a place to hide them by the side of the road and rang Matt in the van to ask if he could pick them up on his way through, describing the place as clearly as I could. Amazingly he went straight to them!
Alistair and Matt fly back to the UK on Sunday. Thanks to them for their fantastic encouragement and support. Alistair has ‘photos which he can share with Ali so hopefully I can include some in the blog next week.