Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour de France 2009 - The Tourmalet

c'est vrai!

We arrived yesterday in Luchon and it was cold.  Not freezing but not hot and sunny.  It's in the Pyrenees and deep in a valley.  More like Boulder than France.  We checked into the hotel - which is lovely, Hotel Majestic and went out to dinner.  

Today was a big day for us, we road the Col Tourmalet.  The highest road in the Pyrenees...the hardest mountain we have ever done.  We drove over to Bagnéres de Bigorre (about 30 minutes before the start of the climb) so we could start there and get a bit of a warm-up before we hit the mountain.  The total ride was 55 km and it took me 3 hours and 18 minutes (up and down) and it took Bruce 3 hours and 5 seconds.  It was hard and never stopped.  Just up and up and up. From Luz-Saint-Sauveur (which is 30 km from where we started) it's 19km long, climbing 1404m at an average of 7.4 % with a maximum of 10.2% at the summit.

me warming-up before the climb

still trying to warm-up

It was amazing and hard and rewarding and beautiful.  I would love to do it again actually.
We wore short sleeved jerseys on the way up and hats, gloves, jackets and arm warmers on the way down.  The tour de france will ride this col on Sunday as part of stage 9 and it was already filled with caravans and tons of people waiting for the race.  

warm-up over...time to start the climb up

the climb took us up and up and up

how many more km?

did we just climb up from down there?

getting into a rhythm

Bruce too

It took me over 2.5 hours to get up and a bit over 30 minutes to get down.  We changed in the car and drove to a café to watch the final 22km on the big screen.  Amazing day, amazing finish. Tomorrow the stage finishes in Saint-Girons and we'll be there. 

we made it to the summit 

the last 2 km kicked my butt

bruce got here 18 minutes before me

the last 2km!

just a beautiful church on the way home

More pictures and updates to come.
Right now we are going to give each other leg rubs before we go to bed.


La Framéricaine said...

May to you live to be 100!

The photos are gorgeous and your physical prowess awesome. Just reading your account of the ride makes me think of the "Laugh In" skit where the guy is riding the tricycle and just tumps over on his side! That image makes me laugh and represents fairly accurately how I'd look trying to replicate your ride!!!

May the fun continue!

chance and real said...

I hear they have many rocks there suitable for cliff scaling

if you like I have many informations about them

your bottoms will not feel so painful

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

girl, I am SO impressed by you. (oh and yours, of course.. ahem...naturally, mais oui, bien sur...) but you are my cycling muse ma cherie xx

can't wait to catch up in person and hear every detail...enjoy it, what a moment in your lives...