N2A – day 2 – Valberg to Chorges

19 Sep

Here’s the day in summary: CH THRESH 2014 MAP DAY 2

Total distance: 149.4 Km

Total elevation: 3332 m

Total descent: 4145 m

This was a day of highs and lows….

…the opening high was the result in the Scottish Independence Referendum – I’m a Unionist / Great Britainist at heart….

…and the opening low was that I woke up at 6.20am in the middle of an AF episode.  My heart was tapping out its strange AF rhythm two hard beats and then three of four rapid flutters.  A felt a big downer, as I contemplated spending the day in the van.

I took my daily dose beta blocker and a half a tablet of Tambocor (I figured if that didn’t work I could take the other half).  I went back to bed for a half hour and, thankfully, all returned to normal and I prepared for the big riding day ahead.

….and that is it for now…because today was a big day, 10 and a half hours from start to finish, and I’m pooped.  Take a look tomorrow and I will write up the rest of the story.

Col de Champs

The day started with low cloud and a few spots of rain, so full weather gear was to hand.  We had finished at the top of the ski resort, Valberg, the day before, so the first ride was a 700m descent to the main road, drop off the weather gear to Lee, ready for the 8km traverse and then the start of the climb.

Mark Booth and I climbed together, winding up the hairpins through the forests.  We adopted a slow but steady pace, waving to the faster riders going past (Drew in this shot).

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There was a classic car rally coming down the other way – Alfa, Merc SL, Austin Healey and a couple of Porsches (looked a bit less effort than our method – must do that sometime!).  After 6-7% gradient most of the way, there was a nasty 10% section just before the food stop and a ski station that was deserted (until the start of the season).

There was a short descent before the steeper climb to the col.  The pass was in cloud and drizzle, but we posed for a picture with Lionel, Hilary and Gideon at the top, before descending in the mist.

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The rapid descent was taken with some care because of the damp conditions (and sheep sh*t on the road).  At the bottom, Lee had set up a weather gear changeover, so had a quick feed and water bottle fill up before the next climb.

Col de Allos

The next climb had a very different feel to it.  No one was hanging around at the gear stop, so Hilary, Lionel and me were the last to leave.  This time, the road was a main route.  It’s not such a pleasant way to climb on these roads – more traffic and less picturesque.  However, it makes for more rapid progress and it didn’t feel very long before we hit the ski station below Col d’ Allos and the next feed stop (proper food – pate and jam on bread, bananas etc. – very welcome).

Above the ski station, the weather opened out and the road became the more familiar narrow, winding mountain roads.  Above, you could see the road all the way to the Col at 2,250m – inspiring and intimidating at the same time.

The road averaged a managable 8-9% to the top.  We posed for the obligatory summit shot….

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….before a spectacular descent that deserved some photos along the way.

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The road turned into a major route and we pacelined hard to cover the ground to get to the lunch stop.

 “The Nipple”

Lunch was at around 100km (out of 150km, so quite a way to go), in a village that was still on the downslope.  Gideon reminded us that the route was essentially flat all the way to our overnight stop, except a “nipple” to get over.  Mark, Jonah and I were amongst the last to leave and we had a very leisurely meander in what was now bright sunshine.

The descent from the restaurant skirted the beautiful lake and ahead lay the “the nipple” a 400m rise from the lake and the steepest road yet that day.  The hard work was worthwhile as we were rewarded with a fast descent on a good road down the other side.

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Mark, Jonah (taking photo) and  I on the “Nipple”.

Back at the lake, there was a bridge crossing the lake with the wind against and Jonah did a heroic pull all the way across and a good way on the lake shore the other side.  Mark took a turn and then me (a smaller effort) for what started to feel like a drag.  We turned off the main road and climbed up into the fields and meadows – almost the last straw – before descending through a small industrial estate to a slightly out-of-place hotel and spa.

Massages had been arranged (choice of two masseuses, proving that the best looking masseur does not always provide the best massage) and not long to bed afterwards, sore but pleased that the longest day was behind us.

Best.  CT

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3 Responses to “N2A – day 2 – Valberg to Chorges”

  1. g2mcblog September 21, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    Well done, darling (and to you all !) Dig deep- the end is now in your sights ! Congrats and safe journey to you all. We are all very proud of you: a marvellous achievement yet again this year from all the boys in Lycra…….!!!! Lots of love to you all. Elin and Bobbers in Bermuda x

  2. Megan September 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Well Done Da- very proud of you. We are all thinking of you!! You are doing so well and I can’t imagine how tough going it is xxx Love you lots xxx Megs

  3. Pat Thresh September 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Fantastic effort. With you all the way. Love you lots. Nana xxxxxx

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