The highlight of the first few days of our journey to Rotterdam has been a magical 50 mile monster ride through the French Alps. We rode from Saint Jean de Sixt over the Col de Aravis (1486 meters) then down through the valley and up to the top of the Col de La Madeleine (2000 Meters). Altogether, this route day gave us about 10,000 ft of climbing. Last year, when Liam was 8 years old, we would ride only one Col a day, now at 9 (July 27th he will be 10) we are stringing these climbs together to make ever challenging routes.
This day was incredible, however, it was very hot in the valleys and on the first parts of the climbs. We have gone from temperatures in the 50's in Switzerland to temps in the high 80's low 90's in France. Liam has become a bike rider that can really hold his own in a wide range of conditions. In the mountains he can go toe to toe with just about anyone.
2000 meters - top of the Col de La Madeleine
The last 13 miles of our ride was straight up to the top of the Col de La Madeleine. With about 6 miles to go Liam started to pull away. Luckily, Tavi and the boys were following us in Espy (our Renault Espace van) and they were able to go with Liam. About a mile up the road Liam waited for me, but had he not waited I would have been completely dropped! I knew that this day would come, but I thought it would be when Liam was in his teens---Not at 9 years old!
Full moon over Lake Annecy
After the ride we drove back to the Lac du Annecy and had a dip in the Lake and a wonderful dinner. We have become quite attached to this beautiful town in Haute Savoie! The moon was incredible. The next day before leaving to continue our ride to Rotterdam we took out a pedal boat on the Lake. Liam wanted his brothers to experience one of his favorite things on the planet.
Paddle boat on Lake Annecy
We have now left the mountains and are headed to the cobble sections of the Tour on the roads of northern France. Then it will be on through Belgium and to Rotterdam for the grand depart of the 2010 Tour de France!
This is Bill and Liam reporting as we roll through France!
Live Strong, Train Safe, and Live Well!!!