Today was the first day that we didn’t have to move our overnight bags. At Epic Camp, it’s always a nice little gift to stay in a place for more than one night because it’s a hassle to pack everything up all the time. La Grave was an amazing place to spend two nights too. That view at dinner…
Today was a special day. We were going to bike up the famous Aple D’Huez climb. It’s an 8.5 mile climb with an average grade of about 7.9%. The plan was a super easy ride down the mountain to the base of the climb. Most people took off at their own pace since everyone descends at different speeds, but once I got down to the bottom, I accidentally started the climb. It’s weird to accidentally start something like this, but there was no one waiting at the vans, and Charles started the climb ahead of the group. I followed not giving it much thought, but once I noticed that the climb wasn’t ending, I quickly realized that I wasn’t where I should have been and turned around. Thankfully I made it just in time as to not get disqualified for our group time trial. We all started the climb together, and I made it to the top in a time of 56 minutes. Shannon was on my wheel for the first 10 or 11 switchbacks, and I was worried that she was going to take it. But once it started pouring rain on us, I felt right at home and Shannon dropped back a little. The climb itself was insanely beautiful. The switchbacks were legendary, and the views were beyond epic. Our KOM ended at the start of the village, but I continued through town to the official Tour de France finish.
Once everyone got to the top, we went over to the pool to do our timed 1.5k swim. The swim itself was uneventful. I did it in 22:57 (1:32/100m) which I think was good enough for third. The real entertainment came from the pool nazi that was yelling at everyone. Apparently ONLY speedos were allowed (not even jammers,) and there were no socks or shoes on the “beach” (the deck surrounding the pool.) You also MUST shower before getting in the water and couldn’t wear pants outside of the pool. You also couldn’t leave anything out to dry (such as wet jerseys or shorts) out to dry unless they were in the designated area. It was absurd. Apparently the French are huge assholes when it comes to this kind of stuff, and today definitely highlighted that.
Next up was our timed 10k run. We started at the edge of town, ran out on some trail that met up with a road behind the airport, did an out and back, and then made our way home. Two 5k loops. I went out pretty hard on the first lap, but once we got to the downhill to finish up the lap, I took it pretty easy. Rob (SoCal dude) caught and passed me on the downhill. I wasn’t worried though since he didn’t have a spectacular climb up ADH, so rather than burying myself to catch him, I just took it easy and enjoyed the run. At one point (actually two points,) Rob went off course, and despite him being in the lead, I yelled to make sure he didn’t lose any time. I got scolded for poor sportsmanship in the past, so hopefully this makes up for it.
The combined totals for the three disciplines put me in the lead for our major competition, so I was pretty happy about that. The part that I wasn’t happy about was that Newsom was second which means I only gained 0.3 points on him.
After the run, we sat down for a quick lunch before heading home. Some people decided to go down the back side of ADH, and I joined them. The views were absolutely unreal. 100% worth the tiny bit of extra climbing. Just before the bottom of the descent, it started raining cats and dogs. Or rather, sheep and marmots. It was pouring buckets down on us, but if there’s one thing I learned from Epic Camp Canda, it’s that a proper rain jacket is worth 100x it’s weight in gold. I put mine on, and I was nice and toasty. This was easily my best purchase leading up to camp.
Besides the rain, the rest of the ride back to La Grave was pretty uneventful. I rode solo the entire way and did a short tackon to make it 90k of biking for the day. There was a little time to chill before dinner which I took advantage of, and dinner was delicious as always. Tonight I had duck. It was awesome. Tomorrow is a gigantic day on the bike, so we have a pretty early wakeup. Good night.
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