09 July 2011

Scouting the Next Race

The descent from Galibier toward the South.
It seems like only last week I was riding the Transalp with MOB, David J. and Juliane P. 
But the summer European cycle racing schedule is relentless.  The Tour is already nearing the end of its first week, and my next event is on Monday, July 11 -- L'Etape Acte 1. 

We race the Tour de France's Stage 19, from Modane over Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and then the climb to Alpe d'Huez, 3500+ meters of climbing, together with 6000 others.

Geoffrey as we scout the climb.
My older son Geoffrey flew over from London this morning so that he could help me plan race strategy and tactics, and of course, scout the course.  I drove from Modane/Valfrejus through the Frejus tunnel (45 euro round trip toll for 20 minutes each way through the base of the Alps) and on to the Turin airport to meet him.  After settling in, we drove to the top of the Galibier, a mighty climb indeed, rivaling the Stelvio in its statistics (though somewhat lower at the Col), and presenting an incredible, grand landscape on this mostly sunny July late-afternoon. 

Another team's scout.
There were many cyclists trying out the climb -- way too much riding too late for a race in 3 days, but I guess what else can you do if you skipped Transalp and fell off your training schedule?  

There were plenty of cows and sheep, even at the highest elevations, and several sheep dogs watched patiently from the roadside as the cyclists climbed.

If Rapha is here, this must be the event
Dominic and James K. did last year.
I am staying in Valfrejus, where the exhibitors will be this weekend and where we will check in/register on Sunday.  My condominium is there, just behind the Rapha truck.  Jerome and Didier will join me on Sunday.

Anyway, I cannot wait for Monday.  The weather forecast is good, and the legs feel at least superficially recovered from the last climbs of Transalp!

More of the mighty Galibier -- goes on forever.

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