“I was joined by Jen, an ex-pro who works with Bikestyle Tours, for the last few switchbacks and was barely able to make conversation. To give you an idea about relative effort, while I slipped quietly into my pain cave she was on the internet on her phone, looking up CyclingTips. I shit you not. Not long after she disappeared into the distance.”   Matt McCullough, reporting for CyclingTips.com.au.

This pretty much wraps up the first climb on our Tour de France bike trip with Bikestyle Tours, and we were much further back in the pack than Matt. What were we thinking signing up for a group bike trip with a bunch of Australian (aka hardcore) cycling enthusiasts? Luckily for us, the Aussies have been so very friendly, accepting and welcoming, and have not kicked out the token Americans who have only been training at White Rock Lake (total elevation gain of about 16 inches), and only for 5 weeks.

We have been completely buggered (Australian for exhausted) so we’re a bit behind on our blog posts. Luckily for us, Matt and his mate Stefan, are blogging about the trip for the cycling website CyclingTips.com.au, and they have graciously given us permission to link to their blogposts here. So for now, we’ll reference their posts, and add a few pictures of our own. Hopefully we’ll gain stamina as we go along, but unless you like to root for the underdogs, don’t bet on it. These rides are TOUGH!

CyclingTips Alpe d’Huez Blogpost

Our 14 day trip follows the 2014 Tour de France (we’ll see 8 stages of the race) through the Alps, the Pyrenees and on to the finish in Paris next Sunday. We’re a group of 26 (21 riders, 3 biking guides, 1 non-biking guide and our fearless bus driver, Bernard)… more on this awesome group and staff soon!

Here’s our overall route, and for those interested in the km’s and m’s (distance and elevation), here’s our ride map and profile for the first day: Vizille – Alpe d’Huez.

 

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Our route following the Tour de France.



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We are smiling because we haven’t started climbing yet.



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Mark is trying to pose as a real cyclist.



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Shauna is happy to be wherever flowers bloom in abundance.



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Ugh – Mark is now riding a portion of our 3,000+ foot ascent.



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Our first rest stop.  Whew, was it needed.



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Taking a short break in front of breathtaking scenery.



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We started our climb from Le Bourg d’Oisans, the town you see on the valley floor.



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And traveled along these switchbacks.



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To finally reach Alpe D’Huez.



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Shauna is smiling now! Mark is still on the climb.



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Mark at the finish line. He is smiling but said that his legs stopped working 5 kilometers before.



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Our group having well deserved beers.



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We felt a little cheesy, but weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to stand on the podium!



Tour and Tour Organizer: BEST OF THE 2014 TOUR DE FRANCE, Bikestyle Tours