Haute Route Alps Stage 5: Valloire to Courchevel
Food poisoning, not my favourite thing to have whilst riding, actually at any time. Yet here I was, stuck with continuous nausea. I’ve never wanted not to get on my bike before, but this particular day it was the last thing on my mind. I was dark.
I posted on Facebook ” Today is the first time I’ve not wanted to ride my bike! We’ve 140km to do and I’ve got an upset tummy from all of the gels I’ve swallowed.
The hotel was bad, breakfast bad, legs feel bad. I’m in a black place. And to think I paid for this. #HauteRoute but the scenery, culture and French are beautiful.”
So many friends came back with words of encouragement. This is for you all, Thanks.
The day started off fast, super fast. We were quickly at the bottom of one of the most beautiful climbs in the world, the Lacets de Montvernier. Wow, just wow. What a climb. And as I stood on the apex of one of the 17 switchbacks within 2kms, and took a pee pee rustique, as the French would say, an Aussie rider shouted to me “Hey, I bet that’s the best place in the world you’ve taken a piss?” Only an Aussie could/would say that, and get away with it. He was right. This was/is the best place I’ve taken a pee. So much so, that almost on every other climb, where there were switchbacks, I took a pee to compare.
The climb leads to the Col de Chaussy. It’s not that memorable, apart from the pain, and the prospect of climbing the Col de la Madeleine straight afterwards. I loved climbing the Col de la Madeleine. It is the name of my daughter, and with that, I drew lots of inspiration. Throughout this whole climb, all I thought about was here. How much I missed her. How much she’d be proud of me. And how much I wanted to share this climb with her. I did it for us both. And if it wasn’t for the tent of ‘Sports tours International’ I’d of had a better photograph of the Summit. What fuckwits set their tent up obscuring the summit sign!
The briefing the night before mentioned something of a small hill that we’d face after the Maddie. Well, that small hill turned into a 12km climb. Although the gradient wasn’t challenging, the mental aspects of the climb were. I just thought that I’d be an easy climb. Baked in temperatures of 37º Celsius, it was anything but simple. It seemed to go on forever. It was supposed to be so easy that they didn’t give it a name or category.
From the unnamed hill, we ducked through a village, Bozel until we reached the base of the Courchevel climb. 13km at 7% at the end of 140km ain’t easy. It was a drag. The climb was fairly steady. The scenery is fairly ordinary. I’d been quite excited about going to Courchevel. That excitement dissipated fairly promptly upon entering the village. It’s not quaint. It’s garish and pretentious. Basically, it’s not my cup of tea. I would have said coffee, but the French don’t know how to make it, so I’ll stick to tea.
We stayed at the top. A decent hotel, that served a bloody good dinner, and excellent breakfast. The best I’d tasted all week. A mile apart from Hotel Tatami. It was a place to relax and take stock.
Positon on Stage 5: 266
Overall Position: 303