Monday, August 24

A week of climbing: part 3

Took a while to get back to writing this!

Next few days of the holiday were pretty memorable. Epic ride out to Annecy. head wind all the way ment that Pauline had a mini bonk about 5km from the lake...however we didn't know how far we actually were. 73km in the wind took its toll but a bit of a push, and an omelette and chips, made her alive. Pauline went off for a swim with Paul, but taking the 'sensible' option i decided to ride home.... erm bad call Greg. Wind had turned in the valley and i had another 73km of head wind. This time though the descents on the way out were all climbs. The last 17km of the ride saw me climbing up the valley just wanting it to end. Gels in, water in, nothing appeared to want to make my legs work. Felt crap, but soldiered on. Nearly collapsed when i got back to the house. Beer, massage then dinner made me feel better. Off early to bed and i slept like a log shaped Greg.

Next day was Col de la Madaline. Apparently going to be a 101km round trip, with the main climb being the 26km up to 2000m.Two epic days in a row ehy? Sure why not. Felt ok leaving the house, legs were slow to warm up but not that bad. Took it cheesy on the flat acting as a wind break for Pauline on some sections, but as we reached the base of the climb i just eased off as the others decided it was go time. I figure in a 26km climb with sections off continuous 10-11% you don't want to leave all your rubber on the tarmac in the first 10km. Surprisingly enough i was right.

Great evening meal as usual and off to bed, tomorrow was to be the last day and i wanted a big day. Cormet du Roseland was the pain of choice and i wanted to be on form. Woke up the next day feeling perky and got the food in and the legs in order. Ride out was probably a bit faster than the group wanted but i wanted to be warmed up by the time we got to Bourg. Picked up Paul and rocked up to the base of the climb. Stuck with the group for the first km to get the legs going again and then in the finest tradition of Cervelo Test Team decided i was Thor and went for it. 19km climb on my wn, balls out, no easing up. Power over 270W for the whole thing, do not ease off, do not stop pushing, fast as i can. First 9km hurt like hell, next 9km hurt more, the last km was both terrible and gratifying at the same time. Hit the top and rolled around to stop my legs cramping. Parked the bike, quick puke (not intended), lay down and started the clock.

10mins later the first of the group rolled in, 5mins later Pauline, then the last rider 25mins later. Thankfully it was pretty warm at the top or i'd have frozen! Best ride of the week by far and i felt strong all the way bar a 1km section about 8km in where my mind was sure i was cashing a cheque i could not pay. WRONG. Rolled down slowly to enjoy the view i missed on the way up. Going to miss those mountains, such a fantastic place.

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