August 31, 2013

Optum in France


Optum has arrived in Europe! Jade, Lauren and I flew directly from Denver a couple days after racing. The airport was full of cyclists flying out after the Tour of Colorado. Travel was off to an exciting start when Jens Voigt struck up a conversation with me in the airport. He asked if my wheel was made of gold since I had to carry it on the plane. Well actually, I was just cutting down on baggage costs, but our HED wheels are practically gold. He was really awesome to talk to and even asked about the WCA and our thoughts on improving women’s cycling.

After long flights over the Atlantic, we were all quite tired and jet lagged. I slept for a solid 14 hours the first night. Denise won the sleeping award however, as she slept until 2 pm due to the wrong time displayed on her phone.

Rachel managed to rent us a cute chalet just outside of the ski town of Villard de Lans in the French Alps, it’s not far from Grenoble. My room is just big enough for one bunk bed, but apparently it’s quite conducive to sleeping.

The riding here is simply amazing! We discover new roads every time we roll out of the driveway (well actually up the super steep, off road driveway). There is awesome climbing up to all the ski resorts, a fun winding road through a nearby gorge, and we even found a flat road for team time trial training yesterday. Our staff have set out to ride Alpe d'Huez today. The climb is definitely on my bucket list, but maybe not two days before a major stage race.

I already want to come back to the area for a winter vacation. There are signs everywhere for nordic and downhill ski areas. I've even even seen a few rollerskiers rolling around preparing for the upcoming season! It has been awhile since I've spent time on my rollerskis, I can't imagine descending some of the mountain roads here.

We leave this Monday to start racing in Ardeche. None of us want to leave this cute little ski town, but are also quite excited for the racing to start soon!
Map of the nearby ski areas

View from the top of a major climb near Villard de Lans

Leah :)

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