This is turning out to be one classic cycle journey! The Haute route is in its 5th day and as a spectator it appeared to be a real tough one today. From my chilly perch at the top of Col d’Izoard I watched the cyclists appear below as small moving ants weaving their way up a road that twisted and turned like a snake making its way to top. With the sun low and hiding behind the shadowy mountains we spectators were wrapped up warm and were quick to jump into our vehicles to chase the cyclists and catch them on the fast downhill. The cyclists were darts flying at a speed, with their heads down and bottoms high they manoeuvred themselves around the bends with precision. It was also exciting to watch solo cyclists race each other, silent in concentration only their noisy chains turning to let the other know that a battle had begun.
We followed behind small groups of cyclists through a narrow yet stunning gorge which wound itself past light blue waters that glistened in the warming sun, and through many dark tunnels. The turns were tight and the cyclists had to avoid oncoming traffic at times.
Before we knew it Col de Vars was looming and the sun was beginning to burn. We knew the cyclists would be weary after getting to the top of this mountain. The leading cyclists appeared to take this mountain in their stride whizzing off down the other side with barely a drop of sweat on their brow.
I found a few of my fellow spectator side-kicks and we all happily clapped the cyclists on their merry way to the refreshment stop. We didn’t stick around too long and once again joined the road to make our way to the end in Par Loop. I have to say that the hill climb up to Par Loop seemed to go on forever and I felt sympathy for the cyclists having to endure that last bit.
I watched as the cyclists rode over the finish line extremely sweaty and exhausted. Later on many of them were found relaxing in the race village with their lycra tops off displaying their cycling tans while gorging on high energy foods or lazing away in the shade, I even saw some lounging in the local fountain! I believe they deserved any treats after their hard work out…Oh how I wish I was cycling too!
Day 6 tomorrow and I can’t wait…