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Two days before earlier, I broke a rear spoke on my rented road bike.That was the 11th, a Friday. The next day I rode down to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, the largest town in the area, in the pouring rain to try to get the spoke fixed. The large sporting goods store I stopped at had a promising bike repair facility, but the responsible employee told me he would have to order a spoke. What am I riding, a penny-farthing?
|Looking back to Saint Julien from|
For two days now I had been looking across the highway at a little town called Le Bochet. I decided that, rather than take the busy main road up the valley, I would take the side roads through that village. After the previous day's frustration, that was a very enjoyable ride, first running past one of the giant factories in this valley, and then through the cluster of houses tenaciously hanging on to the mountainside.
|Near the start of the climb to the Col de La Madeleine|
The Col de la Madeleine is crossed by the D213 road, connecting the valley of the Arc river with the valley of the Isère. D213 starts right in the village of La Chambre, at the intersection of a little shopping area. No bike shops, though.
The day was gloriously dry after the previous day's heavy rain, but on the lower slopes of this climb it started to feel warm. I stripped down to just a normal jersey, no undershirt, the lightest I had dressed this whole trip so far.
|D213 winds up to the Col de La Madeleine|
|Nice marker showing the climb, not to scale.|
At the pass itself there was the usual little clutch of stores and a restaurant, with a generous parking lot being used by hikers and other folks enjoying the sights. I ate a sandwich for lunch and headed down.
The north side of this pass is completely different from the south side. The geography is much more
|A little village on the descent from the|
Col de la Madeleine
On the climb I hadn't been thinking much about my broken rear spoke and wobbly back tire, but it was hard to ignore on the descent. Again the rear brakes were not very effective and worse yet unpredictable. Near the bottom of the descent I blew my front tire while braking for a hairpin turn, quite possibly because I was over-relying on the front brake. I managed to get the bike stopped without crashing, but it was close.
|Looking back toward D201, from the road|
climbing toward Tournon
The hotel was a quirky place run by an older couple in a converted monastery outbuilding. They greeted me warmly and we toasted my welcome
|The hotel. A bed and breakfast. Not dinner, breakfast.|
Well, nearly so: they kindly scrounged up a wedge of cheese from the nearby Abbeye de Tamié, and a cup of yogurt from a local dairy. Not too bad, actually.
This was also the night of the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. I fell asleep before extra time commenced, and therefore missed the winning goal.