Last Saturday Guy rode up the first 12 bends of Alpe d'Huez to Ribot. He did not stop due to tiredness, mechanical failure nor bad weather (it is unseasonably warm here at present and Saturday was no exception, around 30'C), his premature stop was for sausages! Our friends were having a pre-summer season barbecue and what a feast we had whilst occasionally looking from the sunny terrace at other riders continuing on to the top.
Sunday we were a tiny bit more active with me taking a ride in the valley and Guy riding from Bourg d'Oisans up to Villard Notre Dame and then across the forestry track (and negotiating the remains of 3 avalanches) to Villard Reymond. If anyone has done this they will know that there are 2 very, very dark and unlit tunnels both with bends in them. To get through these you have to have confidence and ignore the drips, potholes and bats and just continue to ride as in no time you see 'the light at the end of the tunnel' and once more have a point of reference and your bearings. Normal bike lights offer little vision (only really powerful mountain bike lights do the trick). If, like me, at any stage you get spooked by the pitch black and put a foot down, it is really hard to get going again for fear of riding into the tunnel wall!
Once both home we sat down to watch the final few kilometres of Paris Roubaix on the TV. We missed most of the big crashes and offs but the ripped kit and muddy streaks on a good proportion of the riders told the tale. What an incredibly exciting finish. I love the idea that at the start of the race Van Summeren probably never dreamed that he would ride into the velodrome alone and finish the winner. 'Cinderella story' as they say.
For an amazingly shot and very atmospheric view of the 2011 PR, check out this YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QSpuhIQg1A&feature=youtu.be&ref=nf