The VIP part of our trip kicked in today. We were picked up at 6:00am and shuttled into Italy to the bottom of the Col de la Lombarde (a flag at the shore of an alpine lake marked our crossing…no fingerprinting, no retinal scans…) A group of 9 of us climbed the Col. 21.5k of climbing with an average grade of 7%. The ride was indescribably beautiful with families camped by the roadside to cheer us on.
At the top you ascend through the tree-line at 2000m and the final 3k of the climb is like riding along the top of the world…with 360degree views of the alps. From there the descent is another experience of a lifetime. 20k along winding roads with lots of room to ‘let it run’.
From the base of the Col we were shuttled over the Col de la Bonette Restefond (if you watch the tour stage today you will see the sweeping views) to the finish line. We disembarked 2k before the finish and were able to ride through the finish to the cheers of the crowd…capped off by a photo on the official Tour podium.
We watched the finish from the Press enclosure…look for Myrna and I on the rail about 50 yards before the Finish Line on the left side of your screen. M is wearing a red long sleeved flowered shirt and her floppy red hat.
The climb was 1h54minutes long…the descent took considerably less time and was worth the effort.
Tomorrow we ride l’Alpe d’Huez!