A beautiful hot summers day welcomed Jeje, Veve and myself in Megève on Saturday after a long drive from Rouen. I was picked up at home at 5 in the morning and said hello be-y vomiting in the garden...I think I ate something that didn't agree with me the night before...oh yes i did - i re-vomited on the motorway in a plastic bag a couple of times. What preparation!!
Things had settled down by the time we arrived 6 or so hours later...thankfully.
We picked up the numbers, left the van at Morzine, took the shuttle back to the start and after a plain pasta meal settled sown to sleep.
I slept really well, woke at 6, set off at 7 and with the 5112 number set off around 7h25. It was a beautiful day and after a long descent we were over the first col without even noticing. The Colombière came up soon enough - not difficult and i felt fresh as we approached the summit. The descent was another matter though. After my fall in April and the broken ribs I was very wary - the top of the descent is very steep (10 - 9 - 8 % per km)...there were also a lot of riders - it was scary to be honest, especially as a helicopter landed to pick up a serious-looking casualty sprawled across the road - gendarmes holding up the cyclists as we crawled past....another was splayed under the safety barrier on one bend!! My fingers were twitching on the breaks constantly. This really slowed down what was otherwise a nice jaunty pace.
The 20km faux plat to the foot of the Joux Plan ascent was very quick as I latched onto a quick group with a couple of very handy girl riders....we took turns and passed a LOT of cyclists...
I'd been up the Joux Plan before - it is a tough climb. I'd fallen at the top and broke two ribs in 2013..so i had a score dos settle - get up and down without any problem. The sun was really beating by now though and there was little shade. I stopped at the food zone at the foot of the climb and helped myself to an Isostar carrot purée - delicious!! "Nobody likes these," the lady helper told me. "It's delicious!" I said. "Mind you, I am English, so that isn't a reference !". She thought it was funny anyway... :)
I burped half way up the climb and re-tasted the carrot ! Not a nice sensation ! I thought the vomiting was going to start again. I was actually climbing well and passing a lot of riders...mind you, others were whizzing past me as well. I was enjoying the climb though, despite the heat and effort. The summit came quickly enough, and the descent into Morzine - although carefully taken - was speedy.
I didn't feel drained as I had in the past n the étape routes...and the number of finishers arriving with a smile, as well s the very few who I saw walking, was proof to the relative ease of this reduced étape.