King of the Mountains 


Day 6

Peaky Climbers Epic 7 Day Challenge

14th September 2017

After a what seemed a very short but good nights sleep interrupted only by the regular clanging of bells from the local church next door, we packed cases in the vans and headed on our bikes to a restaurant owned by the hotel for breakfast.

At 8:08 we headed out of town and immediately into our firstclimb of the Col de Parquetout. This 13.3 km climb rising 537M at a steady 4.5 % gradient climbed on a quiet back road interrupted only by the occasional tractor or herd of cows that seemed to just mill around without any kind of fencing to control them.

After the very hard 2 days before everyone seemed in remarkably good spirits despite all having very sore bums etc and the weather overcast but warm giving a restbite from the very hot sun of the day before.

After finishing the climb and obligatory photo we headed down the descent into the valley beyond. The road was steep, bumpy and very narrow. In fact, it is renowned as being the most technical descent in the Tour de France.

Next up was the Col de D’Ornon a 14km climb with 589M at 4.1%. There we met Alan Marshall (from Wantage) who cycled up the other side to meet us. This all went fine until just at the summit photo it started to rain. We headed down the descent in to the valley beyond which is fact is at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez climb (for Day 7) and into a café for lunch. As we sat there eating the rain absolutely lashed down outside. 

We stayed for a while and hoped the atrocious weather would stop, but it in the end the Peaky Climbers had to push on and complete the last climb of the day: the Col de Croix de Fer in the lashing, freezing rain. This famous Col rises 1250M over 25km and in places the gradient is a savage 14%.

The rain was not the only problem but also the temperature which dropped to just a few degrees. After a couple of hours all were soaked through and getting extremely cold. In the end the skipper instructed all to cycle at a pace that allowed them to keep warm rather than supporting each other. This was to esnure each rider kept as healthy and as warm as possible.

At around the halfway mark the rained finally stopped and things started to warm up a little and in fact on the last parts of the climb the sun finally came out. All got to the Col de Glandon for a photo but sat in the vans with the heaters running to warm up a little and then onto the Croix de Fer another 3Km further up the valley, the entire team had all manged to do it against extreme odds.

This was especially so for Macca whos excruciating knee pain had now spread to both knees from the day before. He managed to get all the way to the top but was in absolute agony the whole way.

This then just left the simple matter of cycling down hill to the hotel in St Jean de Maurienne for 25kms. Unfortunately just 6kms from the hotel the road had gates across it and seemed to be closed. We ventured a look to find that the road had completely collapsed in the recent rains and workings didn’t even allow a pedestrian through.

So we had to give up and take a 25km detour in the support vans via the Col de Mollardto the hotel.

Tomorrow – the Day of Days…

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Peaky Climbers Team is raising funds for two amazing charities: BRITISH LUNG FOUNDATION and CARING CANCER TRUST

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