Standing in the rain/Facing Izoard

Went out on Tuesday inbetween the cloudbursts and managed to get soaked and frozen. It was sunny when I left the house but grim and wet by the time I got home.

I headed out to Richmond to try and get three laps in but on the second the weather came in, harsh, grey and cold, flipping my mood from “getting round at a reasonably fast pace” to “just want to get home and put the kettle on”. I eventually did, but not without having to shelter under a shop awning to avoid the heaviest of the rain. Such are the joys of the English spring.

I was going to get out today but www.metcheck.com is predicting scattered showers so I am skiving indoors. I might pop out for an evening ride as it’s meant to be drier later on. If not tomorrow looks promisingly dry for a longer ride into the Surrey Hills.

I’ve been reading Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s Le Tour (which you can purchase from amazon.co.uk by clicking the image) to start filling in the gaps in my knowledge of the history of the event. It’s a recommended read but I find that sometimes the chronology gets a bit lost as he moves from one year to the next.

One thing that has struck me is that for all the talk of how legendary Alpe D’Huez is as a climb and an arrivee, the Col D’Izoard has a much longer pedigree as a climb on Le Tour and is the one on which the quality of my Etape will be decided. I’ve lost track of the number of legendary names I’ve read of alongside words to the effect of “escaped over the Izoard” or the number of times I’ve told people that it is the one climb I am really worried about.

Looking at the profile of it on Kap’s site (see link on right) the profile seems more unforgiving that Alpe D’Huez in that it doesn’t ease off towards the top and there are some unpleasant looking stretches of 10% average to sting the legs just that little bit more. Hopefully adrenalin and tagging onto a suitable group will carry me through the worst of it.



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