Twickenham CC Week & Alpe d’Huez
When Twickenham Cycling Club come out to stay with us in the Alps its always a great week. There’s so much banter, funny stories each day & lots of fun had on & off the bike.
This year the week started with a trip to Col du Petit St Bernard & a dip down into Italy for a bombardino con panna (espresso, brandy, egg nog & cream) & a hot chocolate so thick you could stand your spoon up in it! The TCC colours were flying up the mountain.
With the goal for the week set – to ride up Alpe d’Huez & for some, Col du Glandon on the same day we took the team down to a nearby bar l’Iceberg for an introduction to ex-elite road racer Olivier & a few glasses of his Belgian beer la Chouffe. Things were a little slower the next day but we headed out for a local loop with some of the steepest back street hills to see what the team could do. Tony went so hard that he managed to bend his rear dropout & snap part of his carbon frame, ouch! Not put off we managed to get him a spare carbon bike from one of our friends in the village & with a few tweaks from bike mechanic Max, he was able to continue riding & bike testing!
With a progressive week’s riding a rest midweek is a great chance to let your body recover & relax in the mountains. There were a few ideas being discussed including local mountain walks from the chalet, paragliding & rafting. Mike made a few calls & white water rafting was booked for the group, split into 2 rafts. They’d be navigating down a 22km stretch of river between Bourg Saint Maurice & Centron on one of the most popular stretches of river in France & home to the Kayak World Championships. Rafting was a resounding success & when we collected them from the pub afterwards there were a lot of happy faces.
One of things that’s great about riding in the mountains with others is that some real characters come out. Take Jo who would’ve much rather been on a horse than cycling but came out with partner Christos & gave it her best during the week. Jo progressed really well, taking on new challenges each day & getting some great photos at the top. She even managed to squeeze some pony trekking on the local trails on her rest day. Another star character for the week was Heather who never gave up, pushed super hard & was always smiling. Heather & Jo, we think you’re both super stars.
On to the penultimate day & the ride up Alpe d’Huez with the option of adding Col du Glandon on the way. Col du Glandon is by no means an easy climb, as it winds up an average of around 8% gradient & just when your legs are screaming it gets steeper in the last 3km. If you make it to the top of Glandon & still have energy left – our support vehicle
Starts were staggered with the aim of riders finishing at similar times for podium photos, coffee & flap jacks.
In the words of a great Twickenham man of past, “Go Twickenham”.