Home Forums Upcoming Events Grande Alpe Re: Grande Alpe


Day 5

Got up early & gave my rims & brake blocks a good clean. Then found a group of riders who had a support vehicle & asked to use their track pump – they took control – probably looking at me & thinking I would break it. Then pumped my tyres up to the highest pressure they had ever been.

We then set up with some fast riding to the base of Cime de la Bonnette. The highest pass in Europe (2860m about 9000ft). A 30km of climbing! Good news – When we started the road was closed due to resurfacing. Bad news – we managed to get past the workers & ride it anyway. We rode up & up & up – I rode with one other stopping a fair few times. The pass itself is strange that the original col was high but cime is a man made addition to the col to make it the highest pass. When the two of us reached the pass we thought we would wait for third amigo who was 500m behind so we waited. Only for him to reach us & go speeding passed. Suddenly he saw how steep the last bit was & noted there was a short cut to miss out the man made part – he returned passed us the other way & went down the shortcut. I continued up the one I was riding with pushed up. When we arrived it had a good view but not much to it. So we descended to the short cut to meet the other guy – who had met a bunch of Germans doing the same trip with a support vehicle – who gave us drinks. I did then think of asking them if I could have a lift down – but thought I better ride it all. The two people I helped up soon disappeared into the distance leaving me to descend on my own. I stopped a few times to relax my hands & let my rims cool down. We regrouped & rode to the next climb where the whole process started again. I rode up staying under 135bpm. At one water fountain we stopped to top up our water & talked to a guy – who was 74 doing the same trip as us – don’t I will do this at that age. Reached the top took a few photos & descended (slowly). Then near the bottom I punctured & any urgency I had disappeared while I repaired the puncture & set off to our lunch stop. I realised how slow I was riding then – when a ten year old boy on a mountain bike overtook me & started doing bunny hops. I thought this was funny & thought of ruffling his hair & saying “You Rascal” – unfortunately I couldn’t catch him! – no I did pass him & cycled with more purpose to my lunch date. When I arrived everyone had more or less finished there food. My two companions said we waited for ages for you – but you didn’t turn up so we decided to go on. Probably deciding there was something seriously wrong so no point in missing their lunch 

After lunch we sped along the valley to the start of last climb. Although this was short(ish) the temperature was 38c & no shade the 3 of us quickly ran out of water. When we saw a stream grabbed the water tipping over our heads & drinking – risking that clean & no dead animal lying in it upstream!

6 of us regrouped at top – the other two had to go on – because one of them was getting hotel at end – then getting a taxi to Nice airport. Flying to Stansted, hiring a car driving to travel lodge, having some sleep, driving to Luton, flying to Belfast, hiring a car, picking up his girlfriend, driving to a wedding. I am exhausted just writing it down!

Stats of day

Distance 114km

Ascent 2700m

Punctures 1

Spare inner tubes left 0

Mates waiting for me to check I am OK 0

Minutes to eat lunch 3

Cols 3

Cime de la Bonnette 2860m

Col de Raspaillon 2513m

Col St Martin 1500m


Distance 665km

Ascent 14260m

Punctures me 3

Punctures others 1