That's it for the week in Courchevel, France and Summer Europe Camp number one. Our coaches did an awesome job transitioning the jump camp into the biking to make a really productive trip. The extra company from the donors this last week was especially great. And, not to mention, the support from these five guys will make the rest of our season financially possible.
We rode everyday in France, Monday through Saturday. I haven't really crunched the numbers, but I know I put in around 400 miles and 40,000 vertical feet of climbing in those six days. The donors all put in some impressive days as well. Sometimes I think they forget that we're training to be world-class athletes and we're still hurting on these rides.
The highlight of the week was definitely riding to and watching the Tour riders on Alpe d'Huez. Most of my team, two of the donors and I rode from our hotel over three passes to the stage, then spent four hours up on the mountain getting the Tour experience. (Fortunately we had vans and didn't have to ride back).
Almost every cyclist will tell you that Alpe d'Huez is the most iconic of climbs in all of bike racing (for its 21 hairpin turns as much as anything). This year, they paved a connector road over the top, so the riders could ride up it, then down the backside and right back up for an unprecedented double ascent. Even on this steep climb, the riders go by fast. Getting to see them a second time made it all that much better. And watching the pain on these sometimes super-human faces was also extremely satisfying. Trust me, the sprinters were not having any fun.
Another highlight was hopping in the local time trial up Montee Courchevel with Brett, Michael, Taylor and "Tenacious D" (Dave Strong). They run this race weekly throughout the summer, six Euros and you get to race up the windy road, 17.5km and 1200 meters of vertical climb. The French can't resist cheering on a cyclist, so we actually had some crowds pushing us on along the way. Taylor and I suprised the Frenchies a bit by finishing 1, 2. Taylor especially dominated, beating me by 2 minutes, whereas I only got the next guy by a few seconds. This guy, we learned driving down, has dual citizenship and is the national road race champion of Mauritius, a tiny island off of Madagascar. I can now say I beat a world champion on a bike, but I'm not sure that tiny African island nations have too much competition when it comes to cycling.
We finished in the pouring rain and were happy to have our coaches at the top with a van. Sometimes cool-downs can be done without.
Tomorrow it's back to home. Springer Tournee's next week, time for some quick recovery... and maybe a little rollerskiing.
Where am I?