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Galibier T-shirt

7 Sep

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We have just taken delivery of the brand new Galibier t-shirt. It is 100% cotton and is available in sizes S to XL. It also has a reflective strip on the back to keep you visible during gloomy winter evenings.

Never ridden the Col du Galibier? Join us for the Tour of the Oisans in the first week of October at the hugely discounted rate of £199 per person. The weather is usually fantastic for riding at this time of year and the roads are much less busy. Half-price bike hire is also available for this week.

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Mont Ventoux Jerseys & T-shirts

6 Sep

Following the success of the Alpe d’Huez range, we have added a new Ventoux line to the PROMPT collection. The design is exactly the same as before and maybe purchased as either a jersey or t-shirt.

Ventoux Jersey

Ventoux Jersey

Ventoux T shirt

Ventoux T shirt

On Wednesday, Hattie & I drove to Provence to ride the Ventoux for the first time. Starting from Sault, we rode towards Bedoin via the stunning Gorges de la Nesque . Rather than heading straight to the Ventoux, we turned back towards Sault and rode the 10km ‘Col de Flassan’. From the top, we looped back to Bedoin and began to climb. The Bedoin Forest section is notoriously hard. The Inner Ring puts it best; ” For the unprepared the 10% slopes become a series of leg-presses: 50 reps a minute for the next hour. For those in better condition or just equipped with low gearing it becomes a winch-like effort.”

From Chalet Reynard, the gradient eases and the iconic calcified summit of the Ventoux is visible. The climb is like no other for most part the famous passes of the Tour de France cut through the mountains. However the Ventoux goes right over the top giving you a spectacular view of Provence. Although the Ventoux dominates the landscape and the cyclo-tourism of the region, there are plenty of other fabulous roads in the area if you are planning to stay for a few days.

Hattie and Me at the Summit

Hattie and Me at the Summit

Climbing towards the summit after Chalet Reynard

Climbing towards the summit after Chalet Reynard

If you haven’t climbed the Ventoux, what about the More Than 21 Bends Alpe d’Huez & Mont Ventoux Tour where you will tackle all the ascents of the Oisans followed by a trip to Provence to scale the Mont Ventoux.

Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 4 -Col d’Izoard

1 Sep

Following the descent of the Col Agnel, you are immediately faced with the Col d’Izoard. From the south, the climb is a misleading 16km at an average of 7%. It is not until you leave the village of Chateau Queyras do you realise how hard the Izoard is. Like so many other climbs, a hairpin signals the start of the real challenge; 9km at 8-9%.

The gentle lower slopes

The gentle lower slopes

The climb is intimidating like no-other. Nearing the summit you enter the barren, lunar landscape of the Casse Déserte. You are surrounded by the iconic sandy eroded rock formation that have played host to numerous iconic Tour de France episodes. From Andy Schleck’s audacious solo-attack to Bernard Thévenet cracking Eddy Merckx, the Izoard has influenced the outcomes of the Tour de France like few others. 2km from the summit, a brief descent leads you to the Coppi & Bobbet memorial – a tribute to the two greats who both crossed the pass alone in the yellow jersey.

The Casse Desserte

The Izoard is the best climb I have ever done. The moment you enter the Casse Déserte, you realise how special this road is. The ascent is hard but the views are stunning – like nothing else in the Alps.

Almost there...

Almost there…

Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 3 – Colle dell’Agnello

31 Aug

The Col Agnel or Colle dell’Agnello links France with Italy. At 2744m, it is the 3rd highest pass in the Alps after the Stelvio and the Iseran. Leaving Pinerolo, we split the route of Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France (Pinerolo – Col du Galibier) over 2 days . The Italian ascent of the Agnel is very hard with the final 10km averaging 9.5%. There are ramps of 14% and lengthy sections of 11-12%.The lower slopes are gentle but still provide enough resistance to sap energy from the legs. The climb seems to go on for ever – leaving Pinerolo, you will climb 2400m upon reaching the summit.

Halfway through the interminable final 10km

Halfway through the interminable final 10km

Looking down on the gentle lower slopes of the Agnel

Looking down on the gentle lower slopes of the Agnel

It is by far the hardest climb I have ever done but its difficulty made it all the more worthwhile. A year in the Alps has taken the edge off reaching the summit of most Cols, however the Agnel was different. The thrill of conquering a mountain pass was rekindled and I soon forgot the impossibly difficult last 10km. It is a stunning climb and must be one of the hardest climbs in the Alps.

Exhaustion atop the Col Agnel

Exhaustion atop the Col Agnel

More exhaustion...

More exhaustion…

Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 2 – Sestriere

30 Aug

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Following the ascent of Montgenèvre, we continued into Italy via the Colle di Sestriere. The ride is similar to the northen ascent of the Galibier with one col(le) split into two separate climbs. From Cesana Torinese, the climb is 12km long at an average of 6%. As the averages suggest, it is fast and rolling with a couple of steeper pitches upon approach to the ski station. The scenery is stunning with snow-capped mountains and a ravine on your right hand side.

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Sestriere was one of the host towns for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and on the descent towards Pinerolo, you pass the enormous ski jumps which are still in use. The descent is over 50km and very fast. On the descent you have the possibility of following stage 17 of the 2011 Tour de France by climbing the Colle di Pra Martino. Whilst the climb itself is pleasant, the plummet down the other side makes it really worthwhile. This is where Thomas Voeckler bunny-hopped into a driveway. The descent is very steep and the road surface poor. It twists and turns through tiny villages and the poor surface is hidden by the trees. However despite all of this, it is great fun and a worthwhile detour.

Vincenzo Nibali spooted testing his form before the  Vuelta

Vincenzo Nibali spotted testing his form before the Vuelta

Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 1 – Montgenèvre

28 Aug
Phil & me on the Col de Montgenevre

Phil & me on the Col de Montgenevre

Last week on the Alpe d’Huez to Italy tour, I climbed some new cols. I will blog each one of these cols with some pictures from the tour. The ski resort of Montgenèvre forms the border between France and Italy. From Briançon the climb is 11km long and averages 4.5%. It is a lovely climb and is never too taxing. The descent towards the Colle di Sestriere is fast and flowing on a great road surface. However there are some long avalanche tunnels as shown below.

Tunnels on the descent of Montgenevre

Tunnels on the descent of Montgenevre

Alpe d’Huez Jersey spotted on the Col du Galibier

10 Aug

One of our popular Alpe d’Huez jerseys was seen yesterday on the Col du Galibier

Alpe d’Huez Jersey

 

Alpe d’Huez T Shirts

25 Jul

They came and they went pretty quick. We received a delivery of our new Alpe d’Huez t shirts the day before the Tour de France 2013 arrived in Alpe d’Huez. By the next day after the Tour de France had left Bourg d’Oisans they were all gone!

More are on the way and you can order them in our shop now. Fresh stocks are expected at the beginning of August 2013.

ALPE d'HUEZ T SHIRTS

Forgotten Climbs of the Oisans: Part 2 – Maronne

22 Jul

Situated to the east of the Alpe d’Huez, Maronne is a satellite station for the main resort. The ascent is narrow and winding with some steep sections.

The climb starts at the foot of Alpe d’Huez. You climb the first 5 bends until you reach La Garde-en-Oisans. The first few bends of the Alpe are notoriously punishing and must be approached with caution.

At La Garde you turn right and pass over the Sarenne river before continuing climbing to the village of Armentier. The gradients here are misleading; the climb does not appear hard as it is a straight road surrounded by trees and thus there is little perspective of how steep it really is! Looking back at the profile, there are some sections of 14%!!

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A left turn in Armentier en Haut leads you on to the Climb to Maronne – 5km at 7%. The climb is covered by pine forest and so offers plenty of shade unlike its more famous neighbour.

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The climb is not as hard as the averages suggest with some flatter sections offering some respite. The climb finishes at 1500m altitude with some great views over Huez village and the 21 bends. The climb can be made part of the Traverse d’Oisans or you can just descend back into Bourg via the same route.

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Strava – http://app.strava.com/segments/4254338 (note the KOM)

Next up – Col du Sabot

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Orica Greenedge Team bus outside the PROMPT Shop

19 Jul

Orica Greenedge

Forgotten Climbs of the Oisans: Part 1 – Villard Reymond

9 Jul

In the week leading up to the Marmotte, riding in the Oisans is hectic. The roads are busy with cars and cyclists. However most ignore the lesser-known ascents in favour of Alpe d’Huez and co. Whilst the smaller climbs may lack the prestige of their neighbours, they provide some of the steepest, most beautiful rides in the area.

The climb to Villard Reymond is hard – 9km at 8.5% from La Pallaud. The climb twists and turns up the side of a ravine under the cover of pine trees until opening onto a mountain plain at 1610m altitude.

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The gradient is never constant – short ramps are followed by brief periods of rest. The first 2km offer a nice introduction. You begin climbing straight away however the gradients are not too severe. The middle section is really tough; the hairpins had me prodding at the levers in the faint hope that there was still another gear. The final 1.5km proved easier as I wound through fields towards the village.

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Above the fields soar two 3000m peaks – Le Grand Pic d’Ornon and Le Grand Renaud. The village has 37 inhabitants and is famous for its production of Génépi – alpine plants that are used for the production of liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Absinthe. Once at the top you have the option of continuing to Villard Notre-Dame and descending back into the valley through a succession of long unlit tunnels. However the road joining the two villages is poor and is better ridden by mountain bike. I prefer to avoid the tunnels and enjoy the technical ride back down. Below is a picture of Hattie at the top modelling her Alpe d’Huez cycling jersey and waterbottle.

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Strava – http://app.strava.com/segments/1677004

Next up – The climb of Maronne (and hopefully a Strava KOM!!!!)

Clients on PROMPT d211’s

11 Jun

We love getting photos from our clients with their PROMPT d211 Hire bikes. Father and Son from South Africa hired bikes from us last year to ride as many cols as possible. They liked the bikes so much they ended up buying a couple of custom finished frames from us. On top of this they are back again this year and are hiring 2 more bikes from us.

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prompt col d'ornon

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Theo the bike mechanic and he’s pretty quick up Alpe d’Huez

8 Jun

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With the cycling season now well upon us and the sun starting to make an appearance we are pleased to welcome Theo Flack to our More Than 21 Bends team.  Theo, a student at Bristol University has just finished a year at university in Grenoble and will be with us all summer helping out behind the scenes, at the Prompt shop and joining us for a few rides no doubt.

 

 

Alpe d’Huzes passes the PROMPT Shop

5 Jun

Day 1 of the 2 day dutch charity Alpe d’Huzes event commenced today at 10 AM and cyclists continued to roll past the shop until 10:45AM! Todays target is to ride Alpe d’Huez 4 times.

Alpe d’Huzes passes the PROMPT.CC shop

Tomorrows start is 4:30AM – I may be up to get some photos !

Criterium du Dauphine 2013 Alpe d’Huez stage Cycle Hire

8 May

With the Criterium du Dauphine visiting Alpe d’Huez and also the Col de Sarenne on Saturday 9th June this could be an ideal time for you to get up close to Chris Froome and Alberto Contador as they do their last minute preparation for the Tour de France.

We have a few bikes left for the 9th June. Please click here for availability and to book online

The PROMPT shop in Bourg d’Oisans is having a make over

19 Mar

Over the last couple of weeks the PROMPT.CC shop in Bourg d’Oisans has been having a bit of a make over. Currently I am waiting for the new floor to dry which has slowed progress down a bit.

For 2013 we will have a new stock of hire bikes as well as a whole load of new magazines for your holiday read plus a new 2013 Alpe d’Huez Cycling Jersey that has already proved popular with over 75% of people reserving one when making a Alpe d’Huez Cycle Hire reservation.

More photos of the shop will be available over the  next few weeks. In the meantime all the PROMPT bikes are stored in the office space. Here’s hoping the floor dries quickly !

 

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Alpe d’Huez Jersey

1 Mar

We have updated our ever popular Alpe d’Huez Jersey for 2013. We have kept with the classic theme from previous years but added a touch of colour to the chest area.

  • 100% polyester.
  • Quick drying micro fiber.
  • Wicks moisture from your body.
  • Exceptional soft feel, lightweight, odor and bacteria resistant.

Whats more if you hire a bike from us you will get a whopping 20% off this jersey if you buy it at the same time and it will be waiting for you when you pick your hire bike up.