We are working through hundreds of pictures from our recent trip to France. We rode the Etape and stage 5 of the Tour, so it was all pretty exhausting. Loads of news and views to follow and please send in your thoughts and pictures from the Etape:
We managed to bump into Chris Hoy at the start of the Etape and he looked relaxed and ready for the effort ahead. There was some friendly banter as to who would ‘win’ out of him and Jason Queally, although as yet there’s no confirmation as to who was first over the Alpe. The following is a brief account, according to his website:
Chris Hoy completed the course which took him over the Col de l’Isoard – 2360 m, Col du Lautaret – 2057 m and Alpe D’Huez, 1427m – totalling 3214m of climbing.
The message was short and to the point. “It was the hardest thing I have ever done” he said. “Can’t speak just now but will call later” His actual time was 8hr 16min but he had a couple of stops on the way “to wait for Jason and Shane” so reckons his actual ride time was close to 7hr 30min. For a big sprinter, just back from his holidays, that is not too bad. The fastest times were expected to be about 6hr 45mins and that will have been from the dedicated ‘mountain goats’but then they probably couldn’t get under 1.10 for a Kilo.
The day started before 4am. Up and down to breakfast and ready to go at 4.40. 25km ride to the start and then negotiate the 8499 other riders to be in position ready to go. The first section, climbing Col de l’Isoard, took 3 ½ hrs, quite an introduction to L’Etape. They waited at top for everyone from their group to arrive and then set off on the second section.
Usually he’s preparing for 200 metres of effort
The descent was exhilarating but soon the road went up again and it was over 2hrs before they hit the top of Col du Lautaret. They had been up for 8 ½ hrs and still had work to do. The last climb of L’Alpe D’Huez has 21 hairpin bends, each of which can bring you to a standstill even when in the granny gear. The final effort took about 3 hours. Chris arrived just after 3.30pm, 7 ½ hrs riding and two breaks of about 15 minutes. On crossing the finish line Chris was overtaken by a mixture of exhilaration and absolute tiredness. He has never driven himself as hard as this before and from what he says tonight, is extremely unlikely to do it ever again!
When he called, he had had some sleep and was going out on the town, just for a couple of beers, with his mates. I have a feeling it will be a cheap night out. Two beers and they will all be fast asleep on the table.
To all of you who have been so generous on the fundraising, a huge thank you. I think we have raised over £3000 to date. For those who have not got round to it, there is still plenty time. Chris was committed to the climb, you can now commit to raising funds for this fantastic charity.
More about how to donate here: Chris Hoy