ALPINE MADNESS 2008! 5 days in October cycling les Haute Alpes 

All Photos Courtesy of Ken Iino


 Bourg D’Oisans – That’s the face of someone who’s got no idea how tough the day is going to be…

 climbing hard, in a tunnel en-route to Col du Lautaret

 Just checking the gps...Yes, we are on the right road.

 More Tunnels


 Downhills seem so unfair when you know you've got to go straight back up the other side.


 Ken's art shot - Am I whistling?


 French Flying Bus!!

 Glacier in the distance.


 Col du Lautaret - 2055m elevation

 & I'm already suffering with bad knee pain - guess who's saddle was too low?

 I know THAT feeling!

 Cool! the hotel has a snow tank!

 OK, Onwards up to the Galibier - 2645m elevation


 It's properly hard work.

 Some time later... the Summit.

 Ken & Paul atop the Col du Galibier


 I feel like hell. That's about the toughest thing I've ever done. (I have led a very easy life it seems.)

 Father of the tour, Henri Desgrange's memorial. It's a lot bigger than I expected!

 Back to Lautaret - it looks like the town lost 3 metres of altitude recently...


 Back to Bourg D'Oisans - Un Chocolat Chaud et un Cafe au Lait sil vous plait mme.... or something like that.

Our "Rest Day" in Vallence - this involved a 350m 20% gradient ride up to the local castle. Cheers Ken!

 At Vallance Castle

 Ken Iino - Cyclocross champion in the making



 Dustjacket shot..staring into the middle distance looking stern - whilst trying not to laugh.


Mount Ventoux from Bedoin - redefining the word FUN.

 Tin Tin's rocket adorns a roundabout outside Valence

 My Delicious lunch - which nearly made an impromptu return in the Bedoin forest!

 Ooh! Mountain fire-trucks Cool.

 The Mountain awaits.

 Ken - looking calm. (My only contribution to the photography on this page.)


 into the forest we go

 I've run out of gears and can't rev any slower - it's time to weave!

 Neither of us are looking too clever here.

 slog slog slog

 Ken spots the summit after Chalet Reynard

 This pleases him greatly.

 10 minutes later... here I come!

 Final corner.

 Blimey it's steep!

 1hr 50 for my first attempt, 1hr 40 for Ken.

 YAY!!! the Col and a chance to stretch the legs.

 Time for a slightly weepy phonecall back home to Chica.

 The Ventoux is an alien place and very lonely.




 That is one very forced smile..


 The Tom Simpson memorial.

 Back down to Chalet Reynard. Descending Ventoux is like a mad, intense, video-game.

 & Back to Bedoin.


 Exploring in Bedoin.







Alpe D'Huez from Bourg D'Oisans.

 Back in Monday's Cafe - pre-ride caffeine

motion-activated yodelling beavers

 SWEAT PRODUCTS.. Thanks Ken. I'm just busy trying to drink my Chocolat without setting off the motion-activated yodelling beavers in the novelty shop.

 Warming up in the valley bottom

 We come across a convoy of French Amhibious armoured personnel carriers.

 They say the first 2km of Alpe D'Huez are the worst

 They're really not kidding.


 Now that's over I can chill for a minute and try and get my heart rate back down.



 Onwards and upwards

 Crossing the line. Ken flew away like the Eagle of Toledo and left me plodding on. Kindly he waited for me at the finish to snap this shot.

 1hr 10 for me, pretty much dead on 1hr for Ken. Pantani I ain't!



 The trusty steed!


 Back down the bottom again. Hello Lance - That fake tan looks very natural!


 Back at Ken's dad's place. A quick pose with the bikes before we scoot off to the airport - making our departure with about 30 seconds to spare! - Thanks to Suguru's rally driving.