It's started and oh my god I'm tired!!!
Didn't sleep well last night, got off to sleep OK but woke at around 2am and tossed and turned until my alarm at 545am. The day started out with another great breakfast at 6am, then get changed, drop bags for the rest stop and the end and grab the bike.
We arrived at the Grand Depart at 720am an it was packed, it was also a fresh 52f, gilet and arm warmers were definitely in order. Ride started on time at 730am with groups being let off at internals to avoid a too much of a crush on the 5 mile neutral descent to the start of the first climb, timing didn't start until you actually started the climb courtesy of the timing chip on your bike plate.
I felt great on the first climb to Le Bettex, I passed a lot of people, riding well within myself but hitting good numbers. A fun and fast descent took us to the base of Plateau D'Assy, where again I felt good. I crested the top of the climb with a small group straight in to another fun descent. I started the descent with a Brazilian guy and we quickly put space between us and the rest of the group.
Now I'm not a bad descender and like to carry as much speed as possible, however, the Brazilian was anther level, he took some crazy chances on blind corners (not cool) and got low on his cross bar at every opportunity and before I knew it he was gone.
It turned out this is the first time being a decent descender had a negative impact as I found myself isolated in the valley and had to solo the valley floor without a group and someone to help out. The group behind me caught up just as we hit the next short climb up Cote De La Provence, they had obviously benefited from the group as quite a few of them looked stronger than me on the climb.
There was a rest stop at the top where everyone stopped as it was a the start of a non-timed section. I took the obligatory nature stop and filled bottles / re-fueled etc. Then hit the pretty narrow and twisty descent (became obvious why it was non-timed) . Another very quick stop to shed gilet and arm warmers in our support van near the bottom of the descent, then on to the base of the next timed hill section. This last section was a 17 mile double climb, first up La Cry and then on to the final summit of Cote 2000.
I was starting to feel it in my legs on La Cry but was able to keep a steady pace albeit hitting lower numbers. Cote 2000 was a different story, it was a long hard climb, I just focused on a good steady pace without blowing myself up, after all this is day one and there's a lot of miles and feet to go.
My target was to finish in 4 hours and I crossed the line on about 3:50, my official time (bearing in mind a couple of non-timed sections) was 3:28 putting me at 104 / 473 overall and 44 / 168 in my age group (40-49) which I'm happy with.
Statistics for full ride, inc. non-timed and ride back to the village:
Distance: 64 miles
Avg Speed: 16 mph
Elevation Gain: 8,714 ft
After a quick refuel at the top it was time to turn around and descend the 5 miles back to the village in Megeve for lunch, which was fantastic!
After lunch back on the bike for the 500 meter ride to the hotel, prep bike for tomorrow, shower, stretch, foam role and massage.
Some of the guys are heading in to town for a walk around, walking isn't on my agenda this afternoon, lying on my bed reading my book with feet elevated is!
Overall a good day with a sense of achievement and a whole new level of trepidation for the rest of the week :-)