Madeleine and Chaussy
Today, it was actually sunny but still chilly early in the morning.
Which was not such a bad thing, as it made my warming up for this stage easier.
As it is not a repeat of stage 1 – in case you’re wondering if you did see that stage header before – that warming up took me to La Chambre.
During stage 1, I “missed” the first ~5 kms of the Col de la Madeleine and as they have good gaufres (waffles) at the summit restaurant, the one with the old motor bike in front, I wanted to get up the full length of it, just for one of those 😎
As mentioned before, this is the harder ascend of the Madeleine. It’s “only” 19.2 kms, but at 8% average, you know you’ll run into 10% stretches often.
There was a deviation in Saint-François-Longchamp, so I didn’t quite complete the standard (Strava) route and cannot compare that to my previous attempt.
Not sure if it was road works or an event that caused this, but oddly enough, there is a Strava segment that takes this deviation into account…
Oh, you remember I said “good waffles” 😂
As my back pain had been (not so) slowly killing me most of the way up, I stayed a bit longer and soaked up some more sun.
For some reason, I had flashbacks of my Tour of 2014, where I mentioned something like “minions carving parts out of my back with blunted knives” and that’s pretty much how I have felt through much of this Tour so far.
Although I’m kinda used to it ever since my crashes (four: one car and three bike, two of which involving a car), it’s worse this year than some of my previous “grand Tours” the years after 2014.
Anyway, I dread tomorrow, as I have planned the Marmotte – well, my version of it, starting at our doorstep – and the forecast is now that temperatures will go up to a healthy 30 degrees, whereas they have hardly touched 20 so far, except for today.
Then again, I did fine in the blistering heat finishing the Maratona in my Giro of last year, but my back problem wasn’t anything as bad as it is now.
After our prolonged break, we descended back to the “Chaussy split” and I regretted starting that ascend within five minutes.
The Chaussy is “only” 10.5 kms from there, but once again, I banged my head against the wall, as I was surprised by the abundance of over 10% stretches.
I only looked it up after I returned to our apartment and mathematically, it’s 6.7% on average.
Apart from a few flats and downhills, there is perhaps some part that meets the average, but most climbing is done at anything between 9% and 12%.
It’s not any better than the other end, of which I took the shortest version, including the Lacets the Montvernier.
And I’m done with it…
Totals for today: just over 77 kms and 2,300 m of elevation gain.
And if you like downhills, here’s another (fast) one…