Day 1: Alpe d'Huez

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Sunday we joined dozens of other Lycra-clad zealots for services at the Church of Alpe d'Huez. Our chalet was just at the base of the climb, so we had to ride away from the famous slope for our warm up. Then we turned around, started our watches at the traditional start, and attacked the hill. We stayed together to the first switchback, each one of us checking the others to see who would set the pace. Then Claire decided to shred the pack. Bill stayed on her wheel for one more switchback, checked out his heart rate monitor, and quickly figured out that he was as good as dropped. A large banner across the street and some spectators shouting encouragement marked the finish.

Final times: Claire was seconds away from breaking an hour. Bill came in at 1:15, John at 1:20, and James, after several photo stops,

at 1:30.

A roving phototrapher took this of Bill around switchback #7.

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