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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)!
- @CanyonUK Everyone loves a hug, thanks.
- @CanyonUK Do we win a prize?
- @c4shr Hello Kash, we're very sorry about that. We'll be in touch shortly to sort things out.
- RT @Strava: Are you ready for the @rapharacing #Festive500? we're challenging riders to clock 500 km between Christmas and NYE. http://t.co…
- RT @JeanzTweet: Yay! Won a nice wash bag & skincare kit at the @rapharacing #alpedquiz. First time ever i won a prize. You rock #teamrapha …
- @JeanzTweet You’re welcome Jens.
- Congrats to yesterday’s Alpe d'Quiz winner Ben Wooliscroft who won a pair of Rapha GT Shoes. Today's prize draw → http://t.co/h4frOXDYma
- RT @michaeltabtabai: @rapharacing #oneoftheseplease Custom Carter handmade chefs knife made here in Oregon by Mastersmith Murray Carter htt…
- @Johnlovesbikes they are in transit and should be here later this week. Thanks for checking in, sorry for the delay.
- RT @tubbytrotter: Yay! I've just won the stunning @rapharacing Womens softshell in the brilliant #AlpedQuiz bring on the winter weather htt…