My first proper Col ↑ all posts
This is proper cycle climbing country now: a map in Albertville showed the climbs like ski runs, coloured according to difficulty, and I headed up a black run to the Col de la Madeleine. Every kilometre there are signs at the edge of the road telling you how far you still have to go, and the average gradient of the next kilometre. I really was poorly prepared for this, having eaten only a small breakfast and taking only one energy bar with me.
I took it slowly, obviously, and three hours later I had to lie down in a field for 15 minutes to try and regain some energy. At this point the road steepens as it heads up the hairpins to the top, and I had to take it kilometre by kilometre, stopping at each marker to rest. Finally the top was in sight and I reached the 1993m point feeling happy bit starving. Luckily a US cyclist who had nipped past me on the way up was still at the top, and he took pity on me and gave me a big chunk of baguette to eat. Partially refuelled I sped off down the other side towards St Jean de Maurienne.