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Haute Route Alps Stage 2: Auron to Risoul

Haute Route Alps Stage 2

Fark, that’s an early start. Got to get used to getting up at 4:40am and stuff enough breakfast into me as I possibly can. Even if that means almost being sick. Average calorie burn would be about 4-5000/day. Considering I don’t usually eat breakfast until after my ride this was going to be fucking tough. Sometimes this was harder than the stage!

Mark, my room mate, told me that I was going to need to be watched carefully as I wasn’t eating enough. This was just the start of his helping hand. I soon learnt that he was right. All the energy I needed for the stage would be needed to be consumed at breakfast, not the night before. Eating too many gels during the stage would eventually take its toll.

Right, I was ready for this stage. Fully breakfast’d up. We dropped down out of Auron, not too cold. I just needed arm warmers. We were still relatively south in the Alps. Our first test of the day was the col de la Bonette, at 2715 metres high, it would be our highest peak of the week. The altitude effected me badly. I managed 1500 metres and below, but didn’t do very well above that. I just couldn’t get my heart rate above 140 bpm.

Despite my heart rate issues, the Col de la Bonette was amazing. The scenery took your mind off of the pain. As you pass through an eery section with 8km to go, you feel as though you’re not alone. Not in the physical sense, just mental. You’re not the only one to have suffered at this point. This section marks where 150 men were stationed for the French army. It’s a cold and bleak place in the Winter, and just bleak in the Summer. A good bleak.

The downhill of the Col de la Bonette was awesome. You soon start to gain confidence in your own descending skills. Now if only my headset would have behaved, I’d of had more confidence going into those tight switchbacks.

Next up was the Col de Vars. I didn’t know much about this climb, other than what was said at the briefing the night before. I’m also quite glad I didn’t know too much. It was a fucking brute. With gradients much tougher than anything I’ve gotten used to, for a lot longer, too! Despite it’s ugly nature, it’s really quite a nice climb. It’s all about the scenery, right!

Finally at the top you get to go down and recover. Well that’s all well and good if you don’t have a climb like Risoul ahead of you. And boy, was that a hard climb. I was feeling it on this climb. Coupled by the fact that I had encountered a group of wild pigs. I didn’t know what they were going to do!


Overall position after stage 2: 298

Position on stage 2: 313



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