Saturday, July 26, 2008

August 5 Bourg D Oisans to Le Rozier (8K east & north of Briancon) 76 K, Col du Lauterat

As I was about to pull out of Le Bourg D'Oisans, after my obligatory stop at the boulangerie and supermarket, I met a cyclo-tourist from Caneda. Carlo Roman was his name and we kind of biked together as far as Briancon. Had some good conversation at the top of climbs, and met a family (Mark, Martina, Matthew, Alis, see photo) from near Lyon France who were out on a backpacking trip. The D'Oisan region, famous to cycling fans for the climb up to L' Alpe D'Huez, has 6 valleys and nine major peaks including some glaciers. Truly a magnificent area. A must see, but not in July or August. Today I had more traffic go by me than the last six weeks combined by far. The mountains are so extreme here there are few roads and fewer highways. The only way to go is the main route. The Col du Lauteret is one of the famous TDF climbs which is overshadowed by its' next-door-neighbor, the Col du Galibier. I decided to save Good Ol' Galibier for the next tour so I can climb it from the north ;) The scenic beauty made up for the automobiles whizzing past.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

August 6 Le Rozier FRANCE to Torino ITALY 131 K

An exciting day for me, I made it to Italy. You could be here too. Ha! I biked 36 days in France, did alot of climbing, and wouldn't you know it, France had one more climb for me, the Col de L Chelle. A 2.7K climb that was really steep. Or maybe it just felt that way since I've cycled 12 straight days. 20K into the day I spotted the cement post (photos) that divides France and Italy. Then it was all downhill, literally. A very steep descent to my first Italian town, Bardonecchia. And then I just mostly rolled down through Susa, Rivoli (I got excited when I thought they named a town Ravioli), and into Torino. Torino, for being a big city was very easy to get into on a bicycle. In Rivoli I ducked under an awning to avoid a downpour and met two cyclists, Mario & Giorgio, who treated me to a Coca Cola after hearing about my tour. Much fun. Here in Torino I got the "Tour of The City" whether I wanted it or not as I searched for The Tourism Office and this great hostel. I will take a day or two off and blog and relax and plan the next section of my tour.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

August 7 Torino ITALY Rest Day

Hopefully I'll get some photos on for all you guys soon. I spent the day walking/relaxing in this amazing city. And I don't say that about cities usually. One young Canadian said he's been all over Italy and Torino is his favorite city. He also said his favorite spot was Cinque Terre which I will be at the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow on Rest Day 2 I will be taking my bike for a train ride down to the Mediterranean Coast to the town of Levanto just north of Cinque Terre. Anyway, you just gotta see Torino someday for yourself. A city full of those European plazas. Really big spaces that are car-free zones, space for people to just mill around and bounce from one museum to the next and one restaurant to the next. And that reminds me. The food seems familiar here, the pizza resembles pizza.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

August 8 Rest Day/Travel Day Torino to Levanto by Train, 16K of Cycling

I always wanted to try this bicycle/train thing in Europe. I should have tried it in France. I would have come up from Spain sooner, catch the train in Andorra and take it to Avignon. Anyway, its all good. I sat at the train station eating salame on hard roll sandwiches and chocolate muffins at Mr Panino. Hey, the Olympics began today.