Having shot over to Hertfordshire last week for a brief interview with cycling commentary legend Phil Ligget that just left… ALPE D’HUEZ: Shoot 8 of the ESPN feature doc based on Richard Moore’s book Slaying The Badger [see earlier posts]. Alpe D’Huez, cycling’s most iconic climb, was the centrepiece of the '86 Tour. Hinault & Lemond crossed the line hand-in-hand: a pinnacle of sporting noblesse. Or was it…. With the edit room now running all hours and, since we only needed ‘heroic & epic’ shots of the mountain, I offered director John Dower to go solo - providing I could take my bike. Deal! And so passed an insane 36 hours. I flew to Lyon on Wednesday and, from 2-6pm, flew up and down the famous 21 switchbacks - clambering up precipices, parking dangerously and narrowly avoiding being crushed by an inexplicable volume of enormous cement trucks. I filmed at dusk on a neighbouring peak at Villard-Reymond. The view across the Alpe was truly stunning. Worried about missing my flight the next day, I set off on my own cycling Mecca without breakfast, starting my ascent at 8am. As most people comment, Alpe D’Huez is neither the most difficult or beautiful of climbs but with the graffiti, the switchbacks and the folklore, it is certainly a ride through history. Having reached the Arrivée I managed to find a coffee shop open out of season; then, looking nervously at my watch, made the risky decision to descend via the Col De Sarenne. What one forgets however, is that this route involves, not just a death-defying descent down a poorly surfaced, barrier-free canyon but, equally, another sizeable climb. With already enough lactic acid in my legs to stop a horse, it was at this point I felt like crying, suffering the amateur’s tortured disbelief at the pro’s ability - to not only race this parcours, but to race back up Alpe D’Huez a second time in this year’s Tour! Despite this, the Col De Sarenne was the most beautiful I have ridden - highly recommended. I then managed to get back to my hotel, shoot a couple of extra shots for John, pack down my bike and kit, hurtle back to Lyon and just about make my flight. No breakfast, no lunch but home by 7pm, exhausted, starving & happy: a fitting end to what has been a wonderful project. I hope you all enjoy the film!