Raid Alpine – Day 5

Distance Elevation Gain

By Rory Chappell (Support Team)

‘Switchbacks are overshadowed by persistence.’

An early start for the cyclists to get a handle on the day ahead: the biggest climb so far. After breakfast, they hit the tarmac and pedalled along to the town of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. They waited for a top up of water from the support team, but eagerness got the better of them and they started Col du Télégraphe before fluids could be replenished. Must have been Callum’s leisurely driving.

The top was a steep, endless ascent that, once the tree line had been cleared, provided a great view over the valley. After a short stop at the top for a picture, and a replication of a previous snap for John W, they rode into Valloire for some lunch. Yes, ham and cheese baguettes again, but, as they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

The next challenge lay ahead: Col du Galibier. This road was incredible. The twists, the turns, the drops, the switchbacks. That’s all without mentioning the steep gradient. Undeterred by the mountain‘s best efforts to dissuade them, our cyclists powered on. And power on they did. Legs working like clockwork, the reached summit. Jane commented, ‘if I just keep my legs going, I’ll make it.’

A highlight of everyone’s day was meeting two German girls, who had recently finished school, followed our cyclists up with camping gear and luggage on their bikes. Not electric bikes, regular push bikes. They rode from Munich on what was their first cycling trip, also finishing in Nice. A hell of a way to put off deciding what to do next in life!

The descent down was extreme. Much the same as the ascent with its winding road, only downhill. John A, Roland and Neil left the rest of us in their dust, feeling pretty good about themselves. That is, until they had to be fetched by Callum because they’d gone the wrong way to the hotel. To save an argument, we’ll leave that story there.

The evening was spent replenishing fluids and eating a great meal. Nothing out the ordinary in what was a totally extraordinary day.– 

Sent from my iPhone

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