Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alp d'Huez

If you cycle, watch the Tour or spend any time around us then you are familiar with Alp d'Huez.

Alp d'Huez is the reason for the entire trip that we planned to France.
All four of us wanted to see it, smell it, walk it, yell on it and be crazy for one day in our lives.

Call it bucket list.
Call it what it you will.

It was all of the above.

 The Alps in one word: HUGE. 
I can't summarize this part of the trip for you enough. 
But we felt like it was a time of high adventure. 
 For us to get to Alp d'Huez, we managed to get tickets from our resort on a bus, to another resort Alsuice (?) maybe and then board a lift (those you see above) and then ride these INSANE lifts across three mountains to the resorts town of Alp d'Huez. It worked out so perfectly, I have no idea why people would do anything else. We walked straight down the mountain, past the barricades and secured a perfect picnic spot with all of the people who had been camping all week. Suckers. 

 These guys were there. Fantastique.
 We made it!

 These were some American's from Portland that we met at our resort. They gave us the scoop on the bus tickets to get over to Alp d'Huez. Traveling Mercies. Trail Magic. Portland Trailblazers.
 They were a gift to everyone on the mountain that day. Trust me.
 Even bicyclingmag.com wanted their opinion. 
 That my friends, is Alberto Contador. 
 And Sammy Sanchez. And Rolland. These guys wore the polka dot jersey and white jersey by the end of the day. Super fun. The green jersey guy went on to win the stage. We never would have guessed that. 
 This is Frank Schleck. And in the left hand corner is Cadel Evans. He won the yellow jersey the next day and was the eventual winner of the tour. It was chaos trying to photograph this and not get hit by the cars, the riders and the other spectators. I did my best.
 There.is.the.maillot.jaune. Thomas Voeckler
 This is a caravan car. The caravan comes around an hour prior the riders and throws out all kinds of free stuff from the tour sponsors. This is a sausage sponsor. We ate lots of sausage while were there. No cochonou. But we loved their ads and their car was crazy cute. 
This is Jenn and me after the Etape sponsor threw us buffs. Don't we look cute? 
Once the riders passed us by, we hung around for a little bit...but then we had to get a move on.
We had been on the mountain for a solid 10 hours. We needed to get back to our apartment. So we go back on the insane lifts that made us scared for our lives. These lifts were so fast, we were white knuckling it the entire way, but I did manage to snap one picture so you could see the view we were entertained with while we dictated our last will and testament to each other. 

We had an amazing time. 
We were thrilled beyond what could have been expected and we couldn't wait for more.

The next day, we encountered crazy traffic on the way into Grenoble as all the people left the area and were trying to follow the tour some more. We were trying to catch our train to Paris, so we were a little stressed, but had no real problems as we left with plenty of time. 

So we managed to get to Paris in a few hours on the TGV. 

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