Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tour de France: Stage 17

Day 303

They’ve been calling it the “Queen Stage” of Le Tour. Over a distance of 210 kilometers, it has 15,000 feet of climbing and three historic cols; the Galibier, the Col de la Croix Fer, and the Alpe d’Huez. Each climb is rated HC, beyond category. It is THE day in the Tour de France.

Chris and I have been up since 4:30am watching today’s stage. As the riders approach each climb, the commentators review the grade. We’ve seen numbers like 5.9%, 5.2% and 8.6% and we sit and watch in amazement as these cyclists dance on the pedals like they’re floating.
In a few months we hope to ride some of these same climbs over a few days. We’ve been trying to get our minds around the steepness of the hills. I broke out some maps and we did a little simple math to compare a few Colorado passes to the ones in France. We’re in for it, that’s for sure. Our grind up Cottonwood Pass (2,700+ feet over 14 miles) is about ½ the steepness of what we’ll pedal in the Alps.

Here’s to granny gear,

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