Today I had one of my most favorite days here at the Tour de France. Yes, it was a rest day, but it was truly a special day of riding for me. I convinced Roll and Hummer into staying with us at the top of stage eight’s final climb. Lucky for us, Versus always give us our own rooms and we usually get two beds, so it’d be easy to share. This held true for the mountain ski chalet we’d be at for the night. It was pretty good with enough room for Craig to stay with me and Bob to stay with Frankie. Craig and I planned to ride first thing in the morning.
I let Craig pick the route since I was just so happy I had someone to ride with. Craig is an awesome athlete who has gotten really into cycling these last few years. He trains between 200 and 300 miles a week and really works it hard in the California mountains. Craig and I wanted to make it an epic day, and the route he picked did not disappoint.
Now for the route. We rode down Morzine Avoriaz over the cat 3 of yesterday’s stage and up the back side of the Col de la Ramaz. Then we traveled down the other side where we turned around and rode back—up the Ramaz the same way the race went, over the cat 3 and back up the final climb to Morzine Avoriaz. This is three cat 1 climbs and two cat 3 climbs in less than 60 miles.
The back side was between 8 and 12 percent the entire climb and I only have a 39-23 gear combination. It was an epic ride: It took us more than four hours to complete and we ended the day with 9,000 feet of vertical. It was one of the most difficult 58-mile rides I have ever done. Craig was relentless the entire time, never letting the pace drop at all. We were either climbing or descending all day. We saw Lampre, Milram, Garmin, BMC and Lotto all out training today. The temperature was perfect, and the roads and scenery were unmatched.
We only stopped for water once and we never went easy at all. The descents were tough and we even went through a pitch-black tunnel for about 1k. I am not a fan of tunnels. When it is completely black you lose your balance and it totally freaks you out. We made is safely home but both of us were totally cooked. I mean completely wrecked. The altitude, vertical gain and speed we rode made this one of the most epic rides I have done in a long time. Hummer, you are an animal. Thanks for the great rest day. Back to racing tomorrow!