Saturday, July 13, 2013

Biking from Paris to Versailles and preparing the way for stage 21

Taking advantage of the unusually long streak of sunny days in Paris, we went on another bike trip today, this time from Paris to Versailles.  At Versailles, we met with a friend, Guillaume, who will be climbing the Alpe d'Huez next week, which is stage 18 in the Tour de France 2013.  This ascent has an average grade of 8% over 13 km.  My GoPro camera is very excited to be joining him on his journey.

As we biked to Versailles, we noticed that we were on part of the path of stage 21 of the Tour de France 2013 (the last day of the race).  About 3 km of this path on Pavé des Gardes was pretty tough for us, at about 4.3% average grade, if the elevation measurements from my Garmin are to be trusted.   Guillaume told us he hopes to be able to do the Alpe d'Huez in a bit over one hour.  Seeing how hard doing just 4% over 3 km was for us today, I think I'd consider it a personal accomplishment to just be able to finish the Alpe d'Huez without having to get off and walk my bike :)

On the way home, we saw a group of American (I assume, from the accent) bike tourists, with loads of gear on their bikes.  I wanted to ask them where they were from and where they were touring, but I didn't seize the moment :)

This is the route we took today.  You can see the details of this route and the return route, uploaded from my GPS.
Path from Paris to Versailles

Signs along the road warning about the roads being blocked off for the Tour de France

The start of the main hill on Pavé des Gardes in Chaville, on the return trip.

At Versailles.

Elevation profile for the trip to Versailles. The selected data point is the highest point on the trip.


  1. Fantastic, Carmen.
    I wish I could accompany you, although I don't know whether I would be able to arrive at the end.
    I recall doing about 150 kms on my 6oth birthday, along the San Gabriel river. It was very nice, but I came back exhausted.
    For the moment, my 15 kms daily is all I do.
    Maybe for my 80th birthday I'll try the 80 mile ride. Or, let's say, 80 kms.
    I love your picture with Benoit.
    Take care
    Love you

    1. Well, 150km is more than I've ever done in one day. :) And 80km pretty much takes a whole day for me. :) And 15km is more than I do every day (I do about 13km). So you'll always be in better shape than me, I think, even at 80!

  2. Well... it seems I've been over-optimistic about my ascension of l'Alpe d'Huez.
    We (because we were 3) went to the top in 1h25min.
    I had to stop twice during a minute or so because:
    1) my bike derailed in the 1st kilometer
    2) in the last kilometer, we wanted to regroup before the finish line

    I've seen a lot of different riders and bikes during the ascension, from very slow to über-fast, and I'm totally confident that you can do the ascent without walking your bike...
    You "just" have to find the right pace, and remember that the first kilometers are the hardest (and I can assure you: THEY ARE!! :-) You'll definitely like the multiple 14% sections!)
    It was a great experience, and I thank you again for the GoPro!

    1. Argh, it's annoying when the chain derails. Fortunately it's usually pretty simple to put it back on, although your hands usually get disgustingly dirty afterward. But let's face it, you were probably secretly happy to have a short break after climbing steep grades. :)

      Maybe one day I'll give it a try, if I can find a way to get there without having to unmount my bike :)