Multisport Magazine Issue 22 - Page 26

CYCLING BY KIM STUBBS A Velo Tours day begins at 5:30am with the smell of fresh coffee and toast filtering through the house located in Le Bourg d’Oisans as tour host Kim Stubbs sets out the breads, juice, cereal, fruit, yogurt and spreads for the first house guests to begin wandering down the stairs for breakfast. Meanwhile, tour leader Kerry Stubbs is down in the garage restocking the electrolyte and spare tubes, putting out the bike pumps and filling the water containers for the support van before heading back upstairs to join the breakfast rush. The dance begins around the kitchen as everyone ducks and weaves around the food bench, greeting each other with the odd beauty sleep wisecrack or compliments of a great effort on the previous days’ climb, while filling bowls and oading toasters to then disperse to the dining room or out onto the deck to eat their breakfast and enjoy the morning sun. The banter that fills the room always sets a great mood amongst the group as the anticipation builds for another amazing day on the bike. Once everyone is pressed, dressed and out the front on their bikes, Kerry addresses the group with a rehash of the day’s route and nominated marshalling points along the way before clipping in and calling for the group to roll out. Henk Vogels joins the tour for a couple of days and though he hadn’t climbed the mountains since his last Tour de France, he faced the 2016 challenge like the true professional he is. Day one: Alpe D’Huez, Col de Sarenne and Les 2 Alpes....piece of cake!! This was backed up the following day with the Galibier and the Lautaret and then again the day after 26 | MULTISPORT MAGAZINE with the Col du Glandon and the visually daunting Lacets du Montvernier. "I have just had THE best three days riding in a long long time. have an incredible Alps and Pyrenees cycling experience. Suffered like a dog up the Alpe d'Huez, Glandon, Les Deux Alpes, Lautaret, Lacets du Montvernier. Great food, great people, Kerry Stubbs and Kim and Tim Stubbs, well done and thanks for having me along for the ride." Henk Vogels, Alpes Ventoux 2016 By the end of Day 3 we had 248km in the legs, and after a feed of pasta in Saint Jean du Maurienne, we all piled into the vans to head back for a recovery soak in the river before dinner, and Henk’s snoring drowned out the car radio all the way home! Henk’s company on the rides and at dinner of an evening was a true highlight. His hilarious stories filled the restaurants with laughter while the three-course dinners arrive (and are demolished) and the beers flow and is a once in a lifetime experience for all. Throughout our itinerary we arranged for a morning trip into the old city of Annecy on the way to the stage finish of the individual time trial in Megeve. We arrived in the ski town of Megeve in time for lunch and a wander around the team buses before the final 30 riders crossed the finish line. At the stage start in Albertville, another stress free day started after parking the vans and walking a kilometre into town to the Tour de France epicentre where we commandeered a café on the main street as our rendezvous point and bag drop. Everyone headed off to get amongst the action while staff looked after all the gear. After watching the Tour Caravan and the peloton roll straight past our tables we were home in time to watch the rest of the stage on the television. Once the Alpes region was conquered, we packed up and movedonto the penultimate climb of the tour – Mont Ventoux. We arrived at our accommodation in Vaison la Romaine in time to attempt a run at ‘The Beast’ that afternoon, only to be thwarted by a severe thunderstorm 10 minutes into the approach. Our second attempt early the next morning, on our final ride day of the tour, was worth the wait. The conditions were so amazing you could’ve held a candlelight vigil at Tom Simpson’s monument without a single candle being extinguished. The amazing setting and the awesome achievement experienced by all created high spirits for the last leg of our journey together to the medieval city of Carcassonne for our final night and farewell dinner of the tour. The amazing French cuisine, the local wines, awards presentations and great fun had together under the old castle walls was the perfect finale to another fantastic seven days in the Alpes with Velo Tours at le Tour de France.