After climbing Mont Ventoux three times in three days we packed up camp and headed to the Alps. We had two days to ourselves, and decided to climb the Galibier on Day 1, and then Alpe d’Huez on Day 2. For the Galibier we rode together and took it relatively easy. We planned to attack Alpe d’Huez the next day and in addition to feeling the strains of the Ventoux we remembered that even though cycling is supposed to be an unenjoyable world of unceasing pain, we were actually on holiday so should try to relax and enjoy ourselves a little. At least for one day.
Over the course of two hours we rode from our campsite at Bourg d’Oisans to the top of the Col du Lautaret. This approximated to a vertical mile of climbing over a distance of around 28 miles, around 3.5% average gradient. There were a series of tunnels, some lit and some completely pitch black and quite scary if traffic entered at the same time. We stopped at the Col du Lautaret for lunch. Tartiflette seemed the most appropriate and calorific option on the menu and was promptly dispatched in quick order.
A good 45 minutes after lunch, we set off to climb the Galibier. This final summit was an additional 5.5 miles at an average gradient of 7%, but with an infamous final kick which ramps up to 12%.
From the top of the world we were back at the campsite in an hour, having glided our way down the most stunning of roads. The first three hours of climbing was rewarded by an unforgettable hour of exhilarating flying.