L’Alpe d’Huez

The original catalyst for this entire trip came when they released the 2008 Tour route and I saw that L’Alpe-d’Huez was on it. While their may be harder, longer, more brutal climbs in France, none holds the mystique for me of L’Alpe and I knew that if I was ever going to take Roberto up on his offer to mooch, this would be the year and this would be the stage.

It was everything I dreamed it would be. From the drive up the 21 switchbacks with Paul and Phil the night before, to walking down a couple kilometers to experience for myself the steepness, to seeing the crazed fans – men in nothing but loin cloths and flags, or devil costumes – to standing at the 50 meter mark and watching the stage finish and all topped off with my getting to see George Hincapie after the race. L’Alpe lived up to every bit of the hype!

After the stage, we had to make our way to the next finish line along with the thousands of spectators, which resulted in one of the most terrifying and exhilarating rides of my life. Without disclosing the name of our driver, (for fear of French legal consequences), let me just say that it is no wonder he has had such success telling others how to ride a stage. His knowledge of just when to accelerate, or drop back into the queue is the stuff of legend.

I mean seriously no professional rally car driver can hold a candle to this man and if the gave jerseys to people in cars, we would have had the pink polka dot, green and yellow ones for sure! To make it even more exciting, through all the switchbacks and off-roading, he was sending text messages to this little known bike racer from Texas who was asking about the stage - that cyclist apparently made some 'move' on L'Alpe years before and wanted to know if this year's crop had run it as fast as he did.

During the decent and thanks to the bounty of sheer cliffs and oncoming cars, I got the pleasure of seeing my whole life flash before my eyes on multiple occasions. It was the ride of a lifetime. All the while my inner-voice was busying itself dictating the article that would run in Velo News...

"Famed commentators lost in fiery plummet while descending cycling's most legendary climb. The cycling world today lost three of it's heaviest hitters and their two unknown female companions..."
The road to the finish

Nice to see a reminder of home.

There were no less than four helicopters flying above us at any moment.

The finish line.


Anonymous said…
Holy **$#@# That is one cool little video and I think I heard a familar hoot and holler in the mix!! Viva la Rachel and Beth

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