Unlike during last year’s Tour de France, I’ve not written any post-stage reports this year.
This is partly due to the poor internet connection we had and I needed my phone’s hotspot internet to stream Netflix.
But it’s also because I was just out of energy after each stage because of the murderous heat, not only while cycling but also in the apartment.
Plus, I have not received any requests to “pretty please” write any post on this year’s Tour de France.
As usual, I’ll give you a recap anyway…
First, here are this year’s stages:
|Sat, 7/23/2022||TDF 2022 - Epilogue||2h 40m 50s||28.92 km||1,745 m|
|Fri, 7/22/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 6||5h 33m 38s||86.70 km||3,096 m|
|Thu, 7/21/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 5||4h 36m 29s||72.56 km||2,262 m|
|Wed, 7/20/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 4||5h 7m 21s||75.44 km||2,401 m|
|Tue, 7/19/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 3||4h 14m 55s||66.74 km||2,061 m|
|Mon, 7/18/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 2||5h 41m 34s||90.70 km||3,001 m|
|Sun, 7/17/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 1, Part 3||1h 43m 41s||30.74 km||724 m|
|Sun, 7/17/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 1, Part 2||1h 44m 39s||27.20 km||930 m|
|Sun, 7/17/2022||TDF 2022 - Stage 1, Part 1||1h 38m 39s||31.13 km||811 m|
|Sat, 7/16/2022||TDF 2022 - Prologue||7h 5m 18s||125.46 km||4,134 m|
|Totals||40h 7m 4s||635.59 km||21,165 m|
And the fancy VeloViewer wheel:
Link to each Garmin entry for the stages in the menu to the right of this page.
After much debate – I talk to myself a lot – I decided to kick off the Tour with a start in le Bourg-d’Oissans, getting up the…
…Alpe d’Huez first.
It’s not like I haven’t done that a few times before, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, because I could continue with the shorter end of the Sarenne, a col which I have never cycled before.
Decending that would bring me near the start of Les Deux Alpes, another one on the “to do” list.
It would probably have been smarter to end my Prologue after descending that, but I underestimated the effect of the heat at the time and continued to cycle up the Lautaret.
Which, to be honest, is a moderately difficult climb for (almost) any trained cyclist…
Again, that would have been a great place to finish, but obviously, being just over 8 kilometers away from one of the greatest summits, the Galibier, I had to cycle that as well.
And as it would be mainly downhill to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, only interupted by the short climb up the Télégraphe from Valloire, I did that part as well.
That little intermediate climb seemed harder this year than when I did it last year 😂
I didn’t realize what time it was when I finally got off my bike and we were too late to do any shopping as planned, but Paula had been smart enough to get some of the bare nescessities for the next morning in Valloire…
At 125 kilometers and over 4,000 meters of elevation, this turned out to be my longest stage this year.
On Sunday – my birthday – I kinda cycled one of the routes I had planned beforehand, totalling 90 kilometers and nearly 2,500 meters of elevation.
This stage started at my doorstep too and I climbed up to Col de Beaune from Saint-Martin-de-la-Porte, continuing to Beaune itself, which is a little higher up.
I descended to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne and climbed Col de Beaune again, followed by another descend into Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, via Le Mollard.
I turned around, tackled Col de Beau Plan (I think I didn’t quite follow the route) and descended back to Saint-Martin-de-la-Porte to get home.
I found out the hard way that the heat was more destructive than anticipated the day before, especially since I did not get any higher than 1,600 meters (Beaune)…
Still, as I descended to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne twice, I could feel the even worse and increasingly suffocating heat grabbing me by the throat below 600 meters or so.
At the end of the day, Paula “warned” me that I was done doing close to 100 kilometer rides every day.
So, my next stage was going to be another one I had planned, but road construction works spoiled that, so I first climbed the other end of la Toussuire and then Léard, but via Plan du Four.
This summit is a dead end, but with one of the cleanest toilet facilities I’ve ever seen at any summit and a nice cold water tap.
As by the time I got down from Léard it was not even 14:00 yet, I pleaded with Paula to let me cycle the Croix de Fer a bit.
She reluctantly agreed to “no more than ~15 kilometers”, which is why I took the fork up the Mollard when we arrived there 🤣
Had I returned the way I came, I wouldn’t have had much less to climb, so there’s that…
Anyway, I ended up having done 90 kilometers again, with 3,000 meters of elevation, so I was put on notice.
Not taking any chances and increasingly getting stomped down and worn out by the heat anyway, I only cycled 67 kilometers – with just over 2,000 meters of elevation – the next day.
But the “alternative” climb to the summit of the Madeleine, via Lac de la Grande Léchère – another boring dead end, but with a cold water tap also – is not any easier than the standard route.
Even at the summit of the Madeleine, at 2,000 meters, the temperature was 35 degrees Celsius.
This was supposed to be stage 13 during last year’s Tour, but I broke myself the day before and scrapped it.
I flipped a coin and cycled up to les Karellis first – a dead end – and then to Col d’Albanne, which passed along the very nice Lac de Premol, with another cold water tap.
And lo and behold, this col actually has a marker, but it’s located lower than Les Karellis…
I then went to the other side of the valley to climb up to Montdenis (dead end) and Col du Sapey with an easy to miss marker and followed by a horribly bad descend for the first 2 kilometers or so.
I clocked 75 kilometers and 2,400 meters of elevation and realized I should have done this stage the other way around.
I mean, I do know how the sun passes through the sky and the Maurienne valley is mainly “straight” N->S – in this case – so I should have done the climbing on the east flank first and then that on the west flank and I would have had a lot more shade 🤦♂️
The burning sun on the climb to Montdenis all but killed me…
By now, I was consuming 4 liters of iced tea – that’s about a gallon, right? – and 2 more liters of water with electrolytes and salts, per day and I still had a hard time eating anything because of a dry mouth…
Luckily, I also had gels (carbs/salt) from PH and I could manage a banana or orange, but that was it.
As I had some more unfinished business left from last year’s Tour, I decided that I would take on Col de la Loze today, before I wouldn’t be able to even attempt it anymore.
I started in Moutiers, finished Meribel up to Mottaret, peeked at the lake there and got down to Les Alues to tackle the monstrous climb up la Loze, where Paula was not allowed to follow in the car.
This is a hard one to tackle any day, but as I inched my way up and took breaks every kilometer or so, I wondered what the fun of roads like these is in the first place.
This climb is so wide open – breathtaking views, sure – that those 10 kilometers (I needed 1:36 for them and even “just” the moving time was 1:15) under a blistering sun seemed to go on forever…
And again, at 2,300 meters, the temperature was still over 30 degrees.
I had taken two bottles – instead of the usual just one, as Paula normally gives me new ones – but they were empty just past half way.
I descended to Courchevel, got up to the altiport just so I reached the official “summit” there and then descended down to Moutiers again.
Genuinly surprised I hadn’t completely collapsed yet, I got to Allemond by car to tackle one of my other possible Prologues, Col du Sabot.
And that profile card is not lying, it’s a hard climb.
The upper part is wild and wide open, making you guess where you will eventually end up, the summit is a parking lot with nothing and you can almost touch the Lac de Grand Maison below with the Croix de Fer running along from it.
We went down to Allemond for a bite and I then continued to climb the Glandon, which was about as bad as my near fatal ride up the Madeleine the day I destroyed myself last year.
But I made it, the nice English lady was still selling cold drinks and other stuff from her venting cart and I went down the Glandon 2’30” faster than last year, despite almost ending flat on my face, 5 or 6 hairpins down 😅
Again 87 kilometers in total, with nearly 3,100 meters of elevation…
Like last year – and probably the only climb I could do that was not going to require a lot of extra travel time to our stop-over for the night – I cycled up the Croix de Fer again.
As we passed through Saint-Sorles-d’Arvan, we both noticed a nice (blue, but also pink if you are either inclined to wear that or if you are a lady, I guess) cycling outfit hanging in front of a store.
When I wondered and then asked how I had missed that last year, the owner told us he only had opened shop this year.
So, this last trip brought me my only cycling jersey for this year’s tour.
Which is a) already another one on top of the 100 I have in surplus but b) not so weird, as I haven’t seen any shops selling (cycling) jerseys on any of the “summits” I have been.
Of course there are on Alpe d’Huez, but I don’t need another one of those and there probably are on Les Deux Alpes too, but as there was some kind of “old racing cars” event in town, half of it was closed and I didn’t feel like wandering off on foot too much at the time.
Unlike last year, when I enjoyed my visits to the Croix de Fer summit because of the owners, the new owners pissed me off in no time and we left without a drink or bite there.
As it happened, where my Prologue was my longest ride, this one was my shortest: just 29 kilometers and 1,745 meters of elevation…
I got in the car, which was just as well, because on the bike, I would have done the same as last year, when I cycled on to Allemond down the Croix de Fer.
But going down the Glandon and then to Albertville is actually quicker, according to Tom (Tom)…
Had I known this, I might have tried to crash again on the Glandon descend, but I was just exhausted and wanted it to be over with.
Probably also because I met the man with the hammer about 2 kilometers from the summit.
I didn’t eat anything during the ascend and maybe the stop at the shop had just delayed me enough to cause the encounter.
I had stopped wearing gloves after day two or three, as they were giving me blisters as a result of the excessive sweating – I got some sore spots on my butt as well because of that – and my hands were burnt to a crisp, although it didn’t hurt much.
It has taken up to now to (almost) fully heal, but all-in-all, it was worth it.
As cycling in the Alps always is ❤️
With that, give Paula a thundering round of applause for the support and thank you for reading!