Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Kilometre markers on the col d'Ornon

Good news. The Tourist Office has installed marker posts like this one on most of the climbs in the area - the ones on the col d'Ornon are not every kilometre, but they give you stats on the whole climb as well as the gradient for the next km - all in all, good news.


PS: This will scupper my rumours that "the driveway" to our house is actually "mostly flat".....
PPS: "The driveway" was a moniker given for the col d'Ornon by Mark Canaider last summer- a particularly affable Australian guest....

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Leopard Trek on the Galibier

The Col du Galibier is now fully open.

Yesterday Dan rode from here via the Lautaret to the Galibier summit in bright sunshine, a good training ride for him as he is taking part in the Marmotte in July. He noticed some very well turned out riders who he soon recognised and Andy Schleck plus a a few other members of the Leopard Trek team, obviously a recce for the Tour. Small world!
Thanks for the photo Dan.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Photo of the day!

Is back by popular demand!

As per last season, every day we will post a photograph in our on-line album (link on home page of our website and below). The photograph will be of that day and cover some event or other in the 2011 season of King of the Mountains, sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane (it can't always be sun and cycling, sometimes there's cooking and ironing to be done!).

We opened the album yesterday (official start of our season) with the mundane; a photo of the new tool board in the workshop. We once had a helicopter mechanic staying here who said that if a tool was missing from their workshop board the chopper was not allowed to fly. We'll not be employing such a strict 'no tool, no ride' policy here but it should make finding those alan keys a lot quicker!

Let the photos commence! https://picasaweb.google.com/Leicesterlittle/PhotoOfTheDay#

Thursday, 26 May 2011

More deck than the QE2

The deck is finally finished and it's big! Guy had some help from a couple of neighbours for a final push and yesterday the last board was laid. If Guy ever fancies a change of career I may suggest Quantity Surveyor as at the end of the job there was only half a board to spare!

Perfect timing as yesterday was one of the hottest days we've known here in the month of May. The thermometer in the sun registered 38'C at 2 o'clock!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Galibier news...


The Galibier is open from the Bourg d'Oisans/Lautaret side to the tunnel beneath the summit. The Valloire side is not yet 100% clear.

Camping without the canvas

We have recently returned from a 3 night stay at a campsite, a sort of 'honeymoon'! We chose a spot a little south of here; Chatillon en Diois. Given that we only had 3 nights we chose to travel light so left without the tent, stove, table, chairs and all the other bits of kit we normally take camping and 'cheated' by staying in a little mobile home on the site. We were about the only people there as it was so early in their season, the weather however was as you would expect later in the summer, around 25'C + each day.

Guy rode some great mountain bike trails and I explored on the road bike. The area is a lot more arid than our little part of the Alps; lots of vineyards, pine trees, basking lizards and dry river beds. I was surprised then to find myself in an incredibly lush, green valley, a dead end road signposted for 'Cirque d'Archiane'. I was curious to see what the 'cirque' was all about - a circus? a circle of rocks like Stonehenge?

The road was only 5km long and after 3km it soon became apparent that the 'cirque' was on a bigger scale than I had imagined. It referred to the surrounding mountains that formed a giant amphitheatre, horseshoe around the valley road. It was incredible, quite dwarfing and made it hard to not veer off the tarmac for looking up at the towering rock formations (the photos do not convey the true scale or beauty). The culmination of the road was a tiny hamlet with lots of perfect picnic spots, waterfalls and walking trails, a place to return without the bike one day.

Back to the house now and the terrace/decking project which is nearly finished. Guy is out there as I type with a kindly neighbour who has come to lend a hand. Guy enjoyed the fruits of his labour yesterday when he downed tools and enjoyed his lunch in the sun!

False Alarm!

Apologies to those who got excited yesterday after we posted that the Galibier was open. It seems the council were just testing their electronic signage. We'll post again when it really has been opened - no more crying 'wolf'. Sorry.

Friday, 6 May 2011

What's New? An update....

Quite a lot has occurred since our last 'What's New?' post on 12th March. For a start, 3 days after that post went up we had a baby, Alice, the newest staff member at King of the Mountains! We are now also married (on the same day as the Royal wedding though a slightly more understated affair!).

This summer we will be joined by Ian in June and in July and August by Job, who will be helping us out with our transfers and driving, hopefully freeing us both up for tag-team child care and riding.

The terrace/decking is moving ahead at a pace now and most of the wood was delivered to finish the job yesterday, a feat in itself for the HGV driver with our narrow streets! We have a little 'feature' planned which will be a small pontoon area over the stream, should be a nice little spot for relaxing. Time to plant up the window boxes soon too.

This year our timing chips (Timtoo:http://www.timtoo.com/timtoo.php?chronometrage&course=liste ) will not only work for the Alpe d'Huez climb, but a host of other local cols and climbs in the area including our very own Col d'Ornon. As yet no sign of the transceivers going up but it's early days yet, will keep you posted.

As mentioned in our previous blog, the Col de la Croix de Fer is now open, the Glandon and Galibier remain closed but we will post an announcement as soon as this situation changes.

The news on the King of the Mountains T-shirts is that we are hoping for a delivery before the end of May. Will pop up a post and some photos when they are available.

Only 20 days to the 'Challenge Vercors' sportive and 49 days to the first Alpe d'Huez time trial. Can't wait!