Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Col de Joux Plane

(At the "Place des Nations" promenade at the U.N.)

Now as settled in as I will likely get at my apartment, this weekend I headed out for a hard day of biking. A few weeks ago, I met and rode with Tom, a tri-athlete from L.A. through a co-worker. This past week, Tom introduced me to Jessica who just arrived in Geneva and was looking for some local riders, and mentioned she wanted to do Alp D’Huez, one of the more famous climbs in the Tour (where Armstrong solidified his Tour victory in 2004 when the individual time trial was held there). Since the famous 21 switchbacks of Alp D’Huez are a considerable distance from Geneva even by train, I suggested another hill with some tour folklore a bit closer to Geneva (i.e., within riding distance), the Col de Joux Plane; the (in)famous hill where Floyd Landis made his miraculous comeback to secure his win in the 2006 Tour. (I remember this incredible day quite well as I was home sick with exhaustion/dehydration from a tough ride in D.C. last year during a code orange ozone day – admittedly I should have stayed in, but as I lay on the couch recovering, I cheered Floyd on as he laid waste to the field that fateful day). The base of the Col de Joux Plane is 56km from Geneva (approx. 40 miles). The Col itself is pretty tough too. Nevertheless, we made our way out Saturday morning for Joux Plane. Needing water and a bite to eat, we stopped at Samoens, a small picturesque town near the base – where incidentally, it was strangely difficult to find water (we had not anticipated this as in Geneva, public fountains with drinkable water abound). Refueled, we headed to tackle the days hill. It tackled us. It was a tough climb, well worth it. There was an impressive, view of relatively nearby Mont Blanc from the top. Not too long, about 12km, but steep, and after riding for over two hours to get there, very tough. Descending was mildly crazy, the road is not the best paved one I’ve met. The ride back to Geneva was tough as well, but for the first time I tried Coke in my water bottle (sort of a desperation move), which proved most beneficial. We actually made a very good pace on the way back, quite surprising considering the day’s effort (about 135km /80+ miles total). Switzerland living has its pros and cons; riding famous tour climbs is a pro. Saturday night Rodolfo and I had dinner at Maria Alejandra (Alex)’s house where we met her boyfriend Tobias and discussed visiting him in Munich for Oktoberfest. I think I will have to accept. Sunday, got back on the bike somehow and climbed the back side of the Col de la Croisette (in the Saleve mountains on the south side of Geneva) having lunch at the top.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Take one for the American team and GO TO OCKTOBERFEST. I expect a full report (blog). I am glad that you are getting in all the cycling that you can manage, I knew somehow you would. Have fun, be careful.