Bourg d'Oisans to Gap ~102km

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June 24th 2017
Published: June 24th 2017
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Waiting to leave as market gets set up
I suppose it's time to mention how thermally incompatible I am with my Ethiopian roommate. Last night we were finally in the mountains where the heat is no less intense by day, but things do at least cool off at night, and after many sweltering soirees to this point I was eagerly looking forward to some nocturnal relief. Alas, when I awoke I discovered why our room had inexplicably remained hot: I had given Mesfin the choice of beds and he had selected the one by the (open) window; when the temperature cooled down he got cold and closed part of it, leaving me to swelter on the far side of the room. Then after breakfast I climbed up the stairs to our room only to find the door locked with no one inside so I had to descend to the bike room in the basement to retrieve the key from him (he had forgotten to pass it to me once he had vacated the room) then climb back up to the room again. That may not sound like much, but after days of wearing my body down climbing hills, every little bit starts to take its toll, and adding any

As we leave town, others head in
unnecessary effort was not very welcome.

Fortunately I knew that today's climb - which started just a couple of km outside of town - was not particularly onerous; indeed it is my favourite climb in France, offering wonderfully scenic views as you climb next to a river, although I must admit to having forgotten it does also have a few steep bits. But the final approach is quite relaxed and better still, on the other side is a long and not very technical descent that seems never-ending, and which actually found me chilled as I passed through shaded sections next to the river (of course I had also started thoroughly drenched with sweat so that must have accounted for a fair bit of evaporative cooling). Once again I am afraid I was going too fast to want to stop and record the views so you'll just have to take my word for it that the ride was delightful.

Of course nothing is free so eventually I did have to climb again for a few km before reaching the highway that led to Gap, which was smooth but rife with Saturday traffic, and presented a series of long, not-too-steep

The start of the climb to col d'Ornon
climbs followed by similar descents as it wound its way southeastward. The sign said it was 57km to Gap and it was only 10:30 AM.

I remembered this section well from my previous visit, and when I approached the picnic area 3-4 km before Corps I once again saw 2 people there but it didn't look like the same couple so I didn't stop. I did, however, pull over for a bite to eat at a subsequent spot as it was hot and all that climbing was taking its toll. Mind you, a sign I passed at 11:30 said it was still only 30C, which by now seemed almost temperate. My notes describe conditions as merely very hot rather than stinky hot, but of course the day was still young (and I, alas, was not).

To make matters worse, kilometres 77 to 79 today consisted of very mushy gravillon interspersed with sections of crazily coarse 'pavement' yileding the kind of ride that threatens to rearrange your internal organs ("kidney rattling" I call it). There might have been

View part way up
some solace had I been able to at least take decent photos of the surrounding countryside, but I am afraid my camera is now so far gone that trying to capture anything with a light background is pretty much a non-starter. At the same time my computer was once again periodically recording a speed of 0; I am not sure if that is merely an indication that the battery is low, or if it means that yet another thing is falling victim to the harsh conditions under which we have been operating.

At any rate, I eventually discovered that my recollection of the climb to col Bayard was somewhat faulty as I had conveniently forgotten (repressed?) the initial 12% ramp to Laye, after which things relax quite a bit in something of a letdown. However there's (usually) still the 12% descent into Gap to make up for the lack of any sense of accomplishment, but in my case I once again had to pull over and wait for traffic to clear as there was a camper ahead of me that was descending slowly. OTOH this afforded me the opportunity to take a picture, and unlike last time I didn't

Obligatory Col Shot. Reminiscent of Castle mountain in Banff
hit the red light on the way down, so I think I broke even on this one.

Once in town I got flagged down by a motorist who wanted to borrow my pump to inflate the tires on the stroller he had in his trunk, and having thus done my good deed for the day I chose to forego a beer with the other 3 who arrived, and instead sat down to use the hotel's guest computer while I waited for the van to get here with mine. Of course it had an azerty rather than qwerty keyboard, which made typing extremely slow and frustrating, especially when trying to find punctuation marks. Eventually, of course, the van arrived and once I publish my blog will be all caught up!

It probably won't last, of course.

Meanwhile I have (after briefly considering seeing if the McDonald's across the street offered anything superior to what is served in North America) procured a take-out pizza for dinner and will thus forego tomorrow's 11Euro-50 breakfast in lieu of a trip to the boulangerie and leftovers. Ah, France.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16



Interesting solar pattern

The view on the way to Corps

Didn't quite capture the colour of the water but you get the idea

Good placeholder shot

A man outstanding in his field?

Pausing to refuel after the 12% climb

OCS #2

That's a steep drop

Part way down (since I had to stop anyway). See the road snaking

This must be in the sun....

..this seems more 'reasonable' (or at least accurate).

Tot: 0.654s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 5; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0251s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb