About 3/4 of the way up the Col du Glandon. Most of the steep stuff is behind us!
Kevin was charging up the top; this is typical for him, working into his form a bit late in the ride. Of course, this ride was so long that he had opportunities to find and lose his form multiple times (and did!).
Pass #1 complete! Reward? A coke, of course.
Pass #2 complete! No place to buy a coke here, and it's only ten minutes up from the Glandon anyway.
I will never again recommend a pump with a threaded head for attaching to the tube. My Lezyne pump, which I'd thought to be the best-thing going, has a serious problem in that it causes valvle failures due to the need to turn the hose tightly to seal against air loss. We started the day with a flat tire (valve ripped while inflating) and a few hours into the ride had this one, same cause, different wheel, on the descent of the Croix der Fer.
The Croix der Fer descent is fine until you get to this intersection; from here the road a bit annoyingly undulating, with poor pavement in places. In fact, from this point until the base of the Galibier, the roads don't have much to recommend for themselves.
The last place on earth to eat, right at the base of the the final climb (Telegraph/Galibier). We went looking for a place to eat in this town and couldn't find much to recommend until we got here. I'll have to remember the name.
Pasta carbo loading for me, a Panini for Kevin. This looks to be a LOT to eat during a ride, but with 32k of climbing ahead of us, we weren't worried about too much fuel.
Immediately outside the restaraunt, bam, you're on the climb!
Ugh. 10k to go just for the Telegraphe section (it started with 12). You wonder at this point, are you going to make it? 8% is something the legs are beginning to feel!
What you see down below is where you just came from. What you don't see, way way way way way up above, is where you're going. You've probably only covered about 20% of the climb so far, maybe less.
The day is beginning to wear on Kevin. We're about 75 miles into the ride so far.
The summit of the Telegraphe! No cool sign to take you picture in front of though, just that blue placard behind the big guy.
OK, we're only at 5108ft so far, and it's 6:54pm. The summit is over 8700ft. do the math. How much riding in the dark will our two flats have caused?
This is where it really starts to feel hopeless. 15k to go. But you plug on, because that's what you do.
This is where it starts to feel like it's possible. 10k to go, roughly 6 miles.
Lots of sheep!
A whole hillside of sheep!
The dogs look much happier herding sheep than Kevin does climbing the hill.
This one's for Burt. He'll know why.
OK, this is deceptive, cruel, reverse-Karma, you name it. It's *not* 2k to the top from here. It's 2k to the tunnel below the summit, which is closed. Look at the low spot in the center of the mountain ahead. That's where we're heading. It isn't any 2k. (For perspective, 2k would just be 6 times around the Velodrome/bike track in San Jose. That's easy. This is hard!)
This is the tunnel that cuts off the top of the mountain. Now, normally, we complain when the TdF doesn't let us get all the way to the top of a climb, so I guess it's appropriate that today, we have no choice. And today, we might very well have taken the lower option, through the tunnel.
The view from the top is spectacular. This is one beast of a climb!
8:39 was actually about 20 minutes ahead of when I figured we'd make it to the top. Glad it wasn't any later; even with windbreakers and long-fingered gloves and leg warmers, we were cold. Really cold!
The final pass complete. Little did we know that the 15+k downhill to our hotel was going to be harder than the climb, due to the cold & wind. An hour earlier would have probably been much nicer! Thankfully, we had front & rear lights and it doesn't get really dark in France until well after 9pm. But next time we'll be starting out earlier!