Very Happy Birthday

guinea Posts: 1,177
edited May 2008 in Road beginners
I first joined this forum late last year. I mentioned in my first post that I'd been on a get fit mission and been set the challenge of getting up l'Alpe d'Huez. I didn't think that it would be possible when I made the bet, but as I lost weight, got fitter and started to enjoy my cycling it became more and more realistic.

Here's my first post: ... p=14639350

This forum has been great, I found the Richmond Park 3 Lap challenge thread and have worked hard to get my time down under the hour mark and found it a great help to keep motivated and be able to measure my performance. I got a nice pair of Shamal Ultras as a present for getting under the hour. I have to thank ShavedLegs for turning up to Richmond Park at short notice to deliver them. Great wheels and even better service.

Recently the missus has been badgering me to go on holiday so I though we could head to France in the car for a trial run at l'Alpe. She agreed far quicker than I thought she would so off we went. I didn't really expect to finish the mountain, but I wanted to see how much more training I'll need. My own rules state that it has to be done in one go and on a proper road bike.

We left on Sunday had a stop off in northern France on the way down. I had a great run out that evening on the flat plains of the Somme. A 60 mile loop through perfect country lanes started the holiday in a great fashion.

The next day we headed further south intending to get to the Alps on thursday my birthday for a shot at the climb. That night we saw the weather forecast and it said that it was going to be bad until the weekend apart from the next day. So we decided to bring the effort forward until the next day,

So on Tuesday we got to Bourg d'Oisans and immediately found a chalet to stay in and started on the climb. The missus wanted to try it too. I built up the bikes and off we went. We were both very nervous. As we started the climb, as previously agreed, we split up to do it at our own pace.

I powered up to the first corner and turned into the second straight. I'd read that the first few corners were the worst so I kept a little back in case I needed it. The first thing I worked out was to take the corners nice and slow to get a breather and a drink. The first 7 corners or so were tough, but not impossible. However, I found the parts between the 8th and 10th turns the hardest and was right out of the saddle for those. The next dificult part was the open area near Alpe d'Huez as there was a headwind. Once I got passed the last corner I knew I'd done it and I powered through the town up to the finish. My time was 1 hour 15 minutes.

The last time I was there I saw the finish line, but there was road works this time, so I didn't get the chance to raise my arms in triumph, but I was still delighted to make it.

I then turned around to head back to see how the missus was doing. Unfortunately I punctured on the way down and had to spend time removing a drawing pin from the front wheel and fitting a new tube.

Eventually I got going again and got down to the missus. She was in granny gear on the mountain bike and had made a stop or two, but was still going! I cycled up with her for an hour or so to the summit. So we both made it.

The next morning I saw that the rain hadn't quite arrived. I decided, now that I new what the hill was like, to hammer up it and set a good time. It was going very well until about half way when it started snowing. Now it felt great. Honestly, climbing in the Alps in the snow was awesome. In the end I did it in 1hr 15 again.

The next day the sun was out so the missus and I decided to ride out and do Les Deux Alpes. That was a great ride up with a super fast descent. I got 51pmh which I think is a new record for me. After a couple of climbs of Alpe d'Hues it was a pretty simple ride, but it was great to tick off another Alp.

The next day we decided to head to Ventoux. I wanted to do Galibier, but it was still snowbound, so in a moment of madness we decided to go to Provence. The missus wasn't up for this, so she actually drove up with me and took a few photos.

Here I am climbing up the last 6km.

Passing Tom Simpson's memorial - check out my new wheels

Passing a cyclist who'd given up

The ride was harder than any other I've done, but was never in any trouble. Although I had to really dig deep, especially on the last few corners, the result was never in doubt.

The next day the missus decided she wanted a shot, so we headed out from Sault which is an easier ride that from Bedoin, but still has the last 6km of 10% madness.

We had a planned stop halfway and had a drink and a feed and then carried on to the top section. She really started to struggle about 4km from the end. We had another stop and he knocked back a few isostar tabs and had more fluid and tried for the end. We passed lots of walkers and even though she was in absolute agony she wouldn't get off the bike. For those that don't know, that last corner is a bugger. It's very steep and I was nervous she wouldn't make it. However, a large group of folks on the summit all cheered her up to the summit, so she made it. I was so proud of her. Especially since she was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago.

This was the best birthday present ever.

Now I need some new goals - any ideas?


  • simmo3801
    simmo3801 Posts: 486
    Well done guinea at the least your an inspiration!

    And well done Mrs Guinea too!
    Giant Anthem X3 2013
  • Swannie
    Swannie Posts: 107
    Sounds great. I enjoyed reading that immensely. Thank you :-)
  • CyclingBantam
    CyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    That is superb. Thanks a lot for posting it. Congradulations and well done to the pair of you. You should be really proud.

    How about next time doing a full stage of the Tour?!
  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    Just....much respect! Justifiably proud I hope.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Nice report, Guinea, and good photos
    guinea wrote:
    I first joined this forum late last year. I mentioned in my first post that I'd been on a get fit mission and been set the challenge of getting up l'Alpe d'Huez. I didn't think that it would be possible when I made the bet, but as I lost weight, got fitter and started to enjoy my cycling it became more and more realistic.
    I used to be amazed at some of the achievements of the folk on the forum until I'd realised some of my own goals. I'm guessing that this's whet your appetite for something more, so what's next?
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • wastelander
    wastelander Posts: 557
    Top marks to you both - my target is the Tour Challenge next September - 16 giro/tour climbs in 6 days :shock: A visit to Mallorca has given me an idea of what I'm in for so another year of training should be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Doobz
    Doobz Posts: 2,800
    This is probably the best thing I have ever read on this forum and probably most bike forums..

    I nearly cried at the end - (I must be a big softie) :oops:

    I really do hope you guys go on more holidays and have the most awesome times on your biles and share it with us..

  • poprad
    poprad Posts: 51
    Agree with Doobz (apart from the nearly crying bit, of course). Great post.
  • batch78
    batch78 Posts: 1,320
    Congratulations to you both, a most excellent and moving post.

    Belated happy birthday and for your next challenge, stop posting in the beginners section!! :lol:
  • toontra
    toontra Posts: 1,160
    Well done guinea - the hours in Richmond Park are paying off. Thanks for the inspirational report. I have a friend with a chalet in the alps which is rarely used in the summer - hmmm, perhaps I'll give it a go. :wink:

    a serious case of small cogs
  • guinea
    guinea Posts: 1,177
    My mate paid up. £1000 to BBC Sport Relief.

    Thanks all for your kind words of support. Right now I don't know what to aim at. I'd want to go at something hard, but attainable. Maybe the etape next year and the Marmotte after that?

    I dunno what to do. I feel like I've done the climbing thing and fancy some enduro cycling. I guess I should start looking at UK sportive rides too.

    My mate reckons I should start to look at racing. However, I still get absolutely hammered in Richmond Park when someone decides to put the hammer down. I guess my speed will come in time...
  • popette
    popette Posts: 2,089
    Hi Guinea,
    I really enjoyed reading your post as well - very well done to you and to your wife. :) Alpe D'huez on a mountain bike - flippin 'eck :D
    Good luck and keep us posted
  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    Nice read - inspiring stuff to us all - chapeau Monsieur 8)
  • ndodd
    ndodd Posts: 54
    well done :mrgreen:
  • Max_Man
    Max_Man Posts: 185
    Well done mate, I remember reading your diet blog...and now this...inspirational!!!.... :wink:
  • antonylp
    antonylp Posts: 33
    Great read, great post! Inspirational stuff!