Jens Almost Visits the Giro


Above: Jens disguised as the Belgian National Champion.

I last saw Jens hitch-hiking holding a "Geneva Airport" sign. Hopefully he makes his flight back to the land of Eurovision.

Originally, his 3 day visit to the French Alps was planned as a chance to watch the Giro high atop a gloriously snow covered Galibier. But atrocious weather and news that the stage would either be cancelled or shortened - and regardless - inconvenient for fans-with-bikes meant a change of plans.

So while I cancelled our Galibier hotel and my French friends said they wouldn't be caught dead outside on a bike, I simultaneously told Jens that everything would be "fine" and we would have "fun."

Our adventures:

DAY 1 - Mont Salève

"Who could arrest a creature capable of scaling the overhanging sides of Mont Saleve?" - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I told Jens that we wouldn't be the first monsters to cycle my home mountain - recently included on Le Cycle magazine's 50 most beautiful climbs. Managing 3 cols, I made sure Jens earned his moelleux au chocolat cake at the summit.


My wife throughly enjoyed the evening's entertainment. Watching 1980's hair-band videos with two bald guys. We're pretty crazy here.

Day 2

The weather was holding, and it was time to see some snowy Alps.

Our primary goal was to climb the beautiful Col de la Croix Fry which will be the final climb in the toughest 2013 Tour de France stage. But whereas pros like Laurens ten Dam have been training up the direct route, I first took Jens up and over the hyper steep and little known Col de Plan Bois:


We descended and joined the top two thirds of the Croix Fry route. One of the more beautiful climbs I know. Jens attacking:


The storms were still in the distance, so we added a quick detour to Col des Aravis --- into a strong headwind.

It can look a tiny bit like the dolomites here:


This was perhaps a climb too far for our Swedish hero as he proceeded to collapse at the summit.

A friend upon seeing this photo: "who's the dead guy?"


I left Jens snoring at the Col sign and had a nice hot lunch and a beer. After I had eaten I found Jens at the local gift shop shopping for cow skins. Hmmmmm.


Saturday's evening entertainment? Eurovision song contest ! My wife and I liked Malta (OK my wife won't read this: I liked Denmark!). I believe we accounted for 20% of the nearly 900 comments on the very fun Podium Café live Eurovision thread.

Jens didn't like Norway's act:

Comment thread:

Will: "yikes, Jens is throwing fish at my TV"

Jens: "Bland"

Jens: "can't dance"

Jens: "she is worst ever, fucking Norwegians"

I think it was the beer talking though

Day 3

We had wanted to be up Galibier. So in sympathy we decided to get cold and wet, and ever so briefly sleeted on.

We cycled up to the Monument National à la Resistance at Plateau des Glières. Home to perhaps the most famous memorial to the French Resistance (WW2). It was on my list of top climbs that the Tour de France ignores but shouldn't.

The climb to Col des Glières can be steep:


At the summit was a well-attended ceremony to the resistance. Behind a cold Jens (below) is the Monument. It's bigger than it looks and a museum inside. I think it is supposed to represent a bird flying past the sun --- and not a round-headed guy waving.


In Summary

On a weekend when I would have usually curled up by the fire, Jens managed to cycle up 7 Cols, making the best of some poor weather. Chapeau.

I have a feeling he may be a little tired and sitting down a lot this week:


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