Saturday, July 9, 2011

Getting to Valfrejus

So today was transfer day. We left Lyon at around 1pm (about an hour later than scheduled because of some delays with flight arrivals and such) and it took us about 3 hours to get to Modane. Though the tour company I'm with is very good, I've never really enjoyed being shuttled around from place to place with a large group. It's easier to move faster and more efficiently when you're by yourself or with a small group. In any case, as we started to get closer to Modane, the views started to get more and more impressive. This was the view from the bus as we started to enter to Alps.

As a NYC boy, I'm not used to being around such big mountains and the thought of tackling these on a bike was starting to hit me pretty hard. Like I've mentioned before, the only "mountain" that's near NYC that I could train on is Bear Mountain... but compared to these giants, Bear Mountain barely qualified as a pimple.

Though the ride on Monday starts in Modane proper, our hotel was in Valfrejus, which is a ski resort slightly south of Modane. Being a ski resort, it is obviously on the mountainside. And the drive up... wow, it is not for anybody with a fear of heights. The road itself looked like this:

With a constant gradient of probably ~8 or 9 and about 14 hairpin turns, I was a getting a preview of what the climb up Alpe d'Huez would look like. Looking out the valley, this was the view.

Modane is the tiny little town at the bottom of the photograph. When we finally got to Valfrejus, the bus driver had to literally back the bus down a narrow little road to get to the hotel. (He couldn't go down forward because there was nowhere to turn to bus around.) Like I said, not for those with acrophobia.

Anyways, this is the view from my room, which is quite nice (the view... the room is just okay.)

As you can see, it's raining. Well it was raining about 3 minutes ago when I took this picture. It's sunny now. Apparently that's how quickly the weather can turn up here in the mountains.

Well, everything is pretty set for Monday. I think tomorrow morning I will ride down this mountain and then come back up to just test my legs and loosen myself up. And the Etape Expo is literally right outside the hotel so I'll go and see the festivities and see if there's any cool schwag that I can pick up.


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