Climbing my own Alpe d’Huez


On my list of “do before I die” experiences is climbing the famed Alpe D’Huez from the Tour De France. I’ve posted before about my belief that the Tour is the greatest sporting event on the planet; nothing even comes close to the drama and suspense of a grueling sporting event that lasts for 3 weeks. The riders suffer terribly, day after day.

There is no more dramatic moment than the climb up Alpe d’Huez. It’s roughly 8 miles with an average gradient of 7.7% maxing out at 12%. Lance owned Alpe d’Huez. One day The Figurehead will find out how it feels just to get up that mountain. I have poster on my wall at work of Lance climbing Plateau de Beille (I pretend it’s Alpe D’Huez). He’s breaking away from Joseba Beloki and Roberto Heras. I imagine he’s chasing me. Now, that is fear my friends.

Last Sunday a friend and I went for a ride. The route we chose had us climb more than 3700 feet over the course of 30 miles. The new wheels Mrs. Figurehead bought from my 32nd birthday helped alot. My buddy said watching me climb those hills was like watching a guy ride up an escalator. In my mind I was riding with the lead group of Lance in yellow, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, and Richard Virenque in the polka dot jersey. I imagined Paul Sherwen saying “Who is this kid from Tennessee? His name is The Figurehead ladies and gentlemen and he’s putting this group of elite climbers in serious difficulty.”

One day Alpe D’Huez….One Day!

6 responses to “Climbing my own Alpe d’Huez

  1. Yes, The “Tour” is one of, if not the greatest sporting event of all times one I watch with religous dedication. Athletes to the true nature of the word.

  2. LOL I guess you don’t have kids.

  3. Touche Paul…Touche.

    Stirring the pot, friend. Indeed I do have a child; a 3 year old girl. I ride only when she’s napping or before she wakes in the morning – just like you.

  4. 🙂 Just jabbing.

    NO harm… I apologized for things said, just was a little heated till Tardy explained himself. I mean, calling Hamp a triathlete killer and telling people to respond… whew. Got me on a whirlwind of emotion. I’d love to climb Alpe d’Huez. My goal is to someday do it with my son and daughter. Well, my son who likes to bike more than my daughter.

    Paul Hanson
    (not bono but I like Hewson more) and noticed you liked U2 – my favorite group.

  5. Thanks Paul. It was bad joke gone worse. Hampton is actually one of the most generous people you’ll ever meet and he supports several of us here in our office who are triathletes 100%. He helped me fund my trip to Worlds in Hawaii a couple of years ago. Great guy!

    If you pass back through middle TN get in touch me and Tardy and we’ll ride the Trace.

  6. Well done perfect travel to france. I will go to Huez in July.R.

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