Tour de France 2021 – Stage 1

Col de la Madeleine via Col du Chaussy

While the weather forecast was not very good, it wasn’t raining as predicted when we got up.

So, after breakfast, waiting a bit more to be sure, I got on my bike in front of our apartment.

After the warming up to get to the Lacets de Montvernier, it first looked like that road was closed, but it was only the road through Pontemafrey that was under construction.

I started to follow the “Col du Chaussy par Lacets de Montvernier”, saw the 13 kms sign and returned back into town to switch on my GoPro.

The Lacets is a rapid succession of (17) hairpins, with little distance between the top and bottom road in between.

It’s always tricky for a Garmin Edge – I never had anything else – to record it correctly.

I got away with it, but it looks like tangled up spaghetti 😎

Also, while spectacular, it’s less than 4 kms and it would make a nice climb for hill repeats.

In Montevernier, I turned left to continue the remaining 10 kms of the Col du Chaussy.

At an average of 7.4% it’s not easy, but there are some stunning views down into the Maurienne valley.

I took a picture at a rock overhang that was full of Swallow’s nests, which – apart from them flying around – you could tell by the road barrier being covered in their shit 😂

At the summit of the Col du Chaussy, there actually was a restaurant open for a coffee break.

We then went down the narrow but quiet country road that connects to the D99 ending up at the Col de la Madeleine climb, just 5 kms from La Chambre.

During that descend, I crossed a section that was half gone and where a stream was crossing the road.

I got one wet foot that dipped in the water, but got to the other end safely.

This is where having a bike with “dirt track” tires comes in handy…

The remaining 14.5 kms of the Madeleine took me an hour and a half, with two short stops to ease the back pain.

(The back pain is and has been a recurring problem for two decades, but it gets more annoying during long climbs. It’s due to two herniated discs, one having two annulus cracks, both left and right. I can handle it, but just pausing for a minute or so is helping a lot.)

I have only once ever done this end – and the other end in fact – once during my Tour de France 2014 (stages 3 and 4).

This side is the hardest of the two, but apart from a few longer > 10% stretches, is reasonably steady in grades.

At the summit, we had another coffee break and a “planchette des jambons” with some bread for lunch 😋

I then had a flying descend back to la Chambre, being held up the last 5kms or so by a stubborn (Dacia) driver who didn’t want to let me pass.

As we need some more shopping – and gasoline for the car – I cycled on to a mall near Saint-Jean-de Maurienne and ended my ride there

Today’s total: 75 kms and 2245 m of elevation gain.

Link to Strava, Ride With GPS and Relive.

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