Stage 10 – 195.5KM from Bourg d’Oisans to Saint Etienne (2008. Stage 18)
After 9 tough days in the saddle, 1,450 kilometres and four high category mountains in the past two days, yesterday was the first rest day of the Challenge. The official Tour de France includes 2 rest days (my second one will take place before the Pyrenees in a weeks time).
The day after a rest day can often prove disastrous for a Tour rider, as performance levels can dip after just one day out of the saddle. To overcome this, Tour riders will head out on the road to keep the legs spinning, but I’m not racing so after cleaning and retuning my bikes, I chose too spend the day on my feet seeing the sites around Bourg d’Oisans instead- the views were spectacular with panoramic views of the alps. Here’s some pictures from the rest day:
Today’s been a weird sort of stage, I did feel a tad jaded after the rest day and it’s been a good 195km medium mountain stage into Saint Etienne (named after the nineties indie band, ok, actually after Saint Stephen), but I’ve had in the back of my mind all day, that tomorrow I’ve got a 242km ride with the infamous Mont Ventoux in the final 20km, so I’ve tried to keep something in reserve, not easy when there’s some reasonably tough climbs.
The start of the stage took me gradually downhill towards Grenoble, known as the capital of the Alps. From my personal perspective this place is a complete carbuncle and sterile sort of place and if this was a visitors first experience of the alps they would probably go back home. Many big busy cities in France have a fascination with traffic lights, this place is ridiculous, Andy stopped counting at the 22nd red light, I suppose at least that’s the Christmas lights display sorted with minimal effort.
I then headed in a north westerly direction towards St Etienne from there it’s been up and down all day with some quite tough climbs – particularly Croix de Montvieux where I gained over 700 metres ascent in just the one climb. On the way up I headed through the town of Pelussin and got sent twice down a one way street, luckily it was quiet, but riding up a 20% gradient in the wrong direction got some funny looks, so I just kept my mouth shut and hoped everyone thought I was French.
Saint Etienne is a bit of a cycling industry mecca with big firms such as Mavic based here, the firm I purchased my bike wheels from ACycles are also based here, so you can say at least they’re returning home for a fleeting visit.
Here’s todays stats:
- Distance: 195.23 km
- Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
- Average Moving Speed: 28.2 kmph
- Total Ascent: 1,778 metres
Rather than stay in Saint Etienne and face a transfer in the morning, I decided to transfer after the end of todays stage, so I’m now nicely settled in a hotel about 5km from the start of tomorrows stage in Givors, it’s going to be a very long day tomorrow, so it’ll be an early start.
And a quick finally, I’m delighted to announce that my wife and I are expecting our second child, we’ve just had confirmation that 12 week scan results were fine, so little Jessica will have a brother or sister to cause carnage with – let the fun commence!