Hmmmn. They did say this would not be easy. I press on, determined that the broom wagon would not catch me, at least not yet. I head to the first major test, the Col De Vars, stopping briefly at the last feeding station at 116kms before this Category 1 climb in Les Glezolles. Have I mentioned the french people living in these parts? They are simply amazing people. They lined up in pockets along the route, in all the little towns and hamlets, in their camper vans shouting encouragement.
Allez! Allez! Courage!
I later looked up the meaning of these words and found out the Allez! meant Go On! and ‘Courage‘ is from the french expression ‘Bon Courage‘. “Bon courage is a fairly general well-wishing expression. It can be used in many contexts where the person being spoken to is about to perform a difficult action. There is no exact English equivalent. Often, but not always, “good luck” can be used in similar situations”
Some of these people had been camping for days not just to watch this event, but to also watch the Tour De France tackle this same course three days later! Many had cold water and coke which they offered to the suffering cyclists. Some had even set up hoses of cold water to spray on the passing cyclists.
Wow. They sure love their cycling in these parts.
I made sure I took advantage of every single one of them as the temperature was in the high 20’s to low 30’s.
So I pressed on to Jausiers, here the road gently rises, 2 and 3 % gradients until you get to the serious part of the climb from the village of Saint Paul sur Ubeye. From this point on, the climb is tough with gradients averaging between 7 and 10% with the last 8km averaging 7.5 percent.