Day 9- Aix-les-Bains – Col du Glandon / 162 km

Derk complains for the first time about pain in several muscles. Let’s hope this will not turn out to be a problem during today’s harsh ride in the Alpes. He is determined to go all the way to L’Alp d’Huez. Today he takes the Thys 222. This rowingbike has the same Sneks as the 240, but a smaller rear wheel, thus creating a 10 percent smaller gearing.

He starts early, followed by Eric and Thea’s car and the car of Wim and Frans. The camper moves to the first rendezvous, Tours-en-Savoie (close to Albertville).

Derk’s averages are still rather good. Yesterday he had a fine 27 km/h, despite several heavy climbs. Uphill the speed decreases considerably. The steepest climbs result in no more than 8 km/h.

Downhill he sometimes reached speeds over 80 km/h. The last couple of days Derk has become more and more careful. The trouble is that there’s a lot of work on the road, because of the upcoming ‘real’ Tour. It happens often that loose gravel and sand create dangerous situations. Braking on such surfaces is madness, so he has no choice but to reduce his speed.

At 12.30 PM Derk arrives. Already 85 kilometres behind him with an average of 23,5 km/h. He feels good and the muscles seem to give no problems for the moment.

Just after 1.00 PM Derk departs for Col de la Madeleine (1993 m). A big one. Therefore we’ll meet again in St. Etienne de Cuine. Wim/Frans and Eric/Thea again follow Derk. We, Kees and Daniel, one again follow the fast highway to St. Etienne. The mountains are bigger and more beautiful again, snow on many tops, light green woods on the slopes. Pity we can’t stay a little longer…

We await Derk in the village of St. Etienne de Cuines. It’s 17.40 PM when Derk finally arrives, around 4,5 hours after his depart at the last stop. The trip of 61 kilometres was hard, the average is only 14,6 km/h. The climb was usually with only 6 km/h, the real steep parts even with 4 km/h! De descent was steep too, but Derk didn’t want to to risks, so he went down with safe speeds.

As far as Derk’s concerned we move on to l’Alpe d’Huez, but since it getting late, it’s decided he makes a begin with the next col, Col du Glandon. Derk does two-third of the climb. De propulsion cable starts breaking, so this is a good moment to stop. Eight o’clock.