Récit – Le Grand 8 Vosgien 2017 – 135 km and 3000m d+
‘Froide’conche, did you say ? It was already 20° at 6 :30 a.m. in the Vosges, as I arrived in this charming village for this, the real 1st edition of ‘Le Grand 8 Vosgien’, near Luxueil, in the Haute Saône. Last year’s edition was cancelled due to the late arrival of the authorizations, so this year there were high expectations. The local mountain talent was present with a couple of Belgian, Dutch and German ‘cracks’ in the pack of about 100. At 7:30, we headed for the first climb of the day, Faucogney et La Mer – the peloton was reasonable at about 37 kph on the flat, but the climb was attacked at 28 kph by the local guys, to make the selection. I had to let them go 1 km from the top, to keep some energy for the Col des Chevrères and its 10.8 km (officially only 3.5 km at 9.5 % !) and particularly the section at 18%, ouch !!
Next, La Planche des Belles Filles, at a good tempo – even the final ramp – before continuing with the 13 km of the Ballon de Servance, at 26° and high humidity so that it felt quite tropical ! After the long descent we turned right into La Petite Finlande, where we had 9.4 km at 2.8 % (passages at 10%) followed by the appropriately named ‘La Montagne’ 9.5 km with sections at 14%. Then unfortunately I found myself alone for the 12 km final descent and ride back to the finish line. I was happy with the ride – 5h 29, and only 22 riders in front of me ! Then it was time for a cool beer with the riders from Vesoul who I’d accompanied for the last climb, and the tasty local food in the ‘plateau repas’before checking the results. I was really proud to discover I was on the podium !!
The guys who were still on the road for the ‘Grand parcours’ now had 32° but I wasn’t going to wait !
All in all, a great atmoshere, top motorcycle security and affordable price, thanks to J-C Arens, the organiser and the man responsible for ‘Les 3 Ballons’ !! I’ll be back and I hope some of the Team will come with me !!