Two days leisurely drive down through France to the Vercors
Aperitif, dinner and drinks already booked with our hosts.
Three days cycling in the Vercors. Sheila calls this “training”. If it were not for the Alps to come, I would call a few of her included items, such as the Col de la Bataille and the Col de la Machine, seriously mountainous.
Drive to Alps and rendezvous with our group. No doubt none of them within a decade or four of retirement age and all sporting light weight bicycles designed to float up mountains like a feather wafting on the breeze.
7 days cycle touring over the cols, but with our luggage (not including waterproofs, woolly jumpers, gloves and snow shovel – these are mountains) carried.
Assuming we are still going there now follows a bit of car collecting and driving to start of our solo (well duo) Alpine forays.
The three epic (and no hyperbole here – unlike Wiggle using this as a fatuous adjective for their New Forest events) French Cyclosportives are Paris-Roubaix, the Marmotte and the Mercantour. Paris-Roubaix is at the other end of the country so that leaves just two to do in the Alps.
174km long, with more than 5,000m climbing
The cols including Glandon, Télégraph, Galibier and Lautaret ought to be enough but after finally descending from Lautaret it is then on to the finish at 1,888m at the top of Alp d’Huez.
We are not so foolish to even think about the circuit, but have a cunning plan to chop it up with some hotel beds on the way. We will start backwards and attempt to climb and come back down again from Alp d’Huez, before taking on other cols.
Bit of car transferring and lazing around
190km long with 4,750m climbing
Includes the highest paved road in Europe and among other cols takes in the Col de la Bonette. which is really into thin air at 2,802m.
No opportunity to short cut anywhere on this circuit, so our plan is to “tour” it in a record slow time, with minimal luggage (no party frock in the pannier for this one)
Small Print – we reserve the right to change the itinerary due to any circumstances and as the mood takes us (most likely due to adverse weather or poor legs – or both) without notice.
Day 1 – tick
Spent forever getting off ferry. Lorries having to reverse all over the place. Then non-motorway drive south. Workers lunch in small village en route and tonight in historic Moulins, a town on the edge of the Auvergne.