After a restless night – the time change coupled with a sore back – we woke early for a big day of riding before watching the pros finish at Praloup.
The ride took us up Col de la Bonnette – the highest pass in Europe at 2802 metres. It was a long, 23km, and tough, 8% +, climb. Thankfully the scenery was spectacular so we were able to mostly ignore the pain in our legs and lungs!
At the top we quickly took some photos, bundled up, and headed back down. It was a perfect morning for riding which made for an extremely fun descent. Smooth pavement, quiet roads, and awesome switchbacks. Oh yeah.
Today’s stage of Le Tour finished at Praloup; roughly 12km from our hotel. We rode through the valley and climbed up to 3km from the finish.
The roads are closed to cars and bikes four or more hours before the race comes through. This meant we had to get there early and then pass the time on the side of the mountain. In the blistering heat and sun. Thankfully DuVine took care of us with food, drinks and tents to shelter us. Awesome.
Haven ridden up the climb we knew how hard it was. But when the pros came by they made it look WAY TOO EASY. But that’s why they’re pro.
After the race passed we got back in our bikes and headed back to the hotel. That’s when the rain started. It was the hardest rain I’ve ever experienced. Hard in the sense that it hurt when the drops hit my face. A lot. But it made for an exciting ride as the pros were also riding down to their team busses. Weaving through the cars and pedestrians while drafting two Katusha riders was a definite highlight for me.
Once we all showered and cleaned up we headed back up Bonnette for dinner at a restaurant described as being, “at the end of the world. Truly.”
And that’s exactly where it was. And it was amazing. Dinner, drinks, lots of laughs and then sleep. Perfect.