Days 2, 3 and 4 of our Best of the 2014 Tour de France cycling trip were all stunning (and HARD) rides in and among the French Alps. Nothing for the rest of the trip would be as difficult for us as Alpe d’Huez on the first day (combination of jetlag, heat and the famous 21 virages or switchbacks), but each day still brought a mountain to climb.  We basically just went at our own pace, kept turning the pedals over, and eventually reached the top, always to cheers and high-fives from our new mates. To really get the whole story, please click on the links below. Matt and Stefano have captured brilliant photos and eloquently convey the joys, the tribulations, the camaraderie and the atmosphere in their blogposts on CyclingTips.com.au. These guys worked 4+ hours EACH DAY, after kicking our a$$e$ going up the mountain carrying kilos of video equipment. Their footage will give you a birds eye view of what it was like to ride the mountains.
Day 2: Col du Glandon Day 4: Col d’Izoard and Our First Contact with the Race
The awesome group we are sharing this epic trip

We made many new friends on our Bikestyles Tour. We were inspired by all of them. And… they made us honorary Aussies!

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The beginning of our second day ride – an ascent to Col du Glandon preceded by a 20 km downhill ride along a balcony road.  Shauna loves the flowers. And the mountains. And the alpine chalets.

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A view of Bourg d’Oisans (small village at the base of Alpe d’Huez) from the balcony road. Stunning backdrop.

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From the top of the ski village of Orcières-Merlette. We couldn’t believe that there was still snow on the ground with so much sunshine. Jenny, an Australian women’s masters cyclocross champion and Bikestyles Tour guide, is also an excellent shot; she nailed each of us with a snowball as we summited.

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Our new friends, Greg and Andrew, along with Patrick who was the overall leader for our Bikestyles Tour. Yes, he smiled like this ALL THE TIME. Unflappable, that guy.

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Greg decides to get a cool down during one of the mountain climbs.

 
Aerial view of the Barrage de Grand Maison (roughly translated as "Big Dam House").  The road along the left leads to the Col du Glandon, a 6,300 foot pass in the French Alps.

Aerial view of the Barrage de Grand Maison (roughly translated as “Big Dam House”). The road along the left leads to the Col du Glandon, a 6,300 foot pass in the French Alps.

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View of Lac de Grand Maison looking toward the dam.

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On top of Col du Glandon, looking at what we think is Mont Blanc in the distance.

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Bicycle statue at the top of Col du Glandon.

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Greg and Andrew are all grins after killing it on Col du Glandon.

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Shauna descending 3,500 feet from the top of Col d’Izoard to Risoul before the TDF racers pass through on this very route later in the day. Mark loved the descents but wasn’t allowed to tell Shauna his top speed coming down.

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