Thunderstorms. Great banks of rain-heavy clouds rolling in over the hills and through the valleys in the early evening. Erasing the blue skies and the heat of the afternoon. A welcome reprieve; crackling lightning; echoing thunder. Tired legs from a morning ride, resting up as the weather unfolds. Like clockwork. Right on time.
Memories. Gasping for breath in the hot air. The climbs a roll call of cycling history: Galibier, Izoard, Alpe d’Huez. Camaraderie: pizza in Bourg d’Oisans, croissants at Les Sables, pastis at Les Deux-Alpes. Cyclists owning the roads, from countries near and far. The Tour a traveling carnival of festivities and excitement, passing on too soon. Rolling in like clockwork. Right on time.
The famous switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez, looking down on Bourg d’Oisans.
David Moncoutie’s ride for the 2006 Tour de France.
Matthieu Sprick chases hard over the Croix de Fer.
The polka dots await the climbers on the col.
The lonely rider on the north ascent of the Col Izoard.
The historic summit: the entry point into the alps from the south and the scene of many epic cycling battles over the year – as well as a welcome resting point for tired tourists.
Thirsty riders refresh before their next adventure, most likely an ‘epic’ climb and a visit to the local bakery as soon as possible.
The perfect ride: an empty road and blue skies over the mountains.
Many thanks, dear reader, for allowing your author to share some memories. Rest assured that an ‘epic’ post on Gino Bartali and the politics of cycling is under construction and will be posted in due course. Hopefully your patience will be rewarded. (Oh, and one also hopes that everyone is enjoying the fresh new site design…)