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Cent Cols Challenge: Stage 9
Vassieux-en-Vacors to Montmelian
Starting on the plateau town of Vassieux at 1250m meant it was pretty chilly at daybreak, and we left the quiet village in drifting morning fog. We climbed up out of the mist into clear skies and from here on in it was a fantastic summer's day.
The final push. The last tough day, and something we're all determined to nail, so morale is high.
Straight into the climbing, but once the sun breaks through we're rewarded with a dramatic loop through the Gorge de Combe Laval, scenery like I've never seen before.
A diversion for lunch took us through walnut groves, heavy with ripe fruit, to a friendly campsite hostess. The reason for the diversion as she proudly shows us is a certain Texan used to lunch their whilst training on La Machine… we later heard she replaced the pictures with ones of Ira Ryan.
A long, long drag after lunch along big roads, saw me fighting to stay on the back of Brett and Nick's express train.
Finally reaching the hotel at Montelian, I was absolutely spent, almost not caring that we had hit our target of 100 Cols. A beautiful evening though.
The tunnel down the Machine, barely wide enough for a big vehicle, squirming its way through solid rock and darkness. We needed a car with headlights to guide us through.
The rock-cut road in the Combe Laval, stunning. A feat of engineering yet almost prehistoric at the same time. Definitely one to revisit.
Tomorrow, the final day, I don't know if I'm happy or sad. Well, I'm a little annoyed to be honest; I thought we'd be able to catch up on some sleep, but it's another half-six start… and the route looks a lot tougher than I'd anticipated. Hey-ho.
Above the clouds, heading toward the intriguingly named Col Machine.
The cracks are beginning to show (on Nick's wheels)!
- 2 be clear that was @johnherety decision to not let @AaronBuggle start. Tour of Korea and Irish National Champs will be his next rendezvous
- Happy to report @AaronBuggle is as good looking as ever after 13 stitches in his chin. Sorry to report not letting him start tomorrow though
- @flammecast @AaronBuggle His Shrone is fine !!!
- Big thanks to all marshals,coms and medical staff on the @anpostras today. Great work despite the numerous demands on their services today.
- Just to let all his girl fans know @AaronBuggle is ok. He's in hospital and will need some surgery on a cut to his chin. Will update later.
- We've just added 13 new rides since the weekend to our Rapha #womens100 Find a Ride list. → http://t.co/ux8c1JCuQc
- The team also racing the Ras in Ireland this week. Currently Aaron Buggle is the team's top placed rider in 15th overall.
- Tour Series resumes tonight in Stoke on Trent. RCJ line up is House, Clancy, McCallum, English and Mellor.
- Arboretum → http://t.co/cJXOyDWnK0 #raphasurvey #sanfrancisco #sf #cycling
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0