Well that was quite the day! This is one tough race. A very early morning (breakfast 0515hr) after very poor jet lagged sleep started it all off.
The start was uneventful, but the 23 km neutral spin to the border with France created some havoc.
The average speed was quite slow, so there was quite a bit of the acceleration, deceleration thing. Throw in a bit of traffic furniture and it is a sure recipe for disaster. The big crash happened in my general vicinity and it sounded pretty intense. Not sure if everyone walked away unscathed. The climbing is pretty intense in this race. Today we did 3 big climbs; the first two were pretty significant. It was smoking hot, up to 36 degrees and hydration was key. Understanding that we have 6 more big days was also pretty important and therefore I personally kept it pretty conservative.
The last 5 km of the Col de La Colombiere was particularly tough. The average gradient is at about 9.5%, and it is completely exposed to the sun.
The visual was pretty good, but I have to say I thought I was done for when I reached the top.
Tomorrow is another day, a shorter one with two big climbs, the last a 26 km drag at 6.5% up to Courcheval.
It is supposed to hot again so again I think it is imperative to ride within my capabilities if I intend to survive to the finish. Follow live timing at http://www.cimalp.com/Live_Res/HauteRoute2012_AN/index_tout.htm and check out todays ride at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/embed/212559342.