This weekend was Haute Route Crans-Montana in lovely western Switzerland. The Matterhorn was (and remains) 25 miles from the village, although hidden from sight due to a mountain range.
tl;dr version: it did not go well for me.
extended edition: it really did not go well for me.
If I may impart some wisdom: do not get your second Moderna shot the Tuesday before this type of event, a shot that typically lays you out flat the next day. Bad flu-like feelings, unable to drink or eat for much of the day, seeing after the fact that Garmin’s “Body Battery” values fell dramatically even though I was passed out on the couch made for a bad Wednesday. On Thursday, I felt better and in the afternoon drove the 4hrs to Crans-Montana. That wasn’t an ideal setup and in hindsight I should have moved the 2nd shot.
Friday was the hillier day with 3200m / 10700’ (a bit more actually) of climbing across about 69 miles. (The official distance for this stage was less as it did not include the transition in the saddle to the shuttle back to the race village.) Summer arrived on this day for the first time this year with temps 30-35C (85-95F). I love riding in the heat, but I prefer some sort of transition. And, yes, I ran out of water twice and fuel.
Saturday was “easier” with just two climbs. The climbing was around 10k’ / 3000m but only 61 miles. Though with the climbing in two parts rather than three…
Here, my GPS had some problems: it told me that sections of the second climb were -4±% (see the vertical in the elevation chart, which was in fact not vertical nor a problem with gravity.
However, if I couldn’t get all the cylinders firing on Friday, it became clear I was worse off for Saturday. I was better fueled and hydrated this day, but the heart / cardio simply said no to my demands. At no point were my muscles tired nor did I feel lactic acid build up. Today, my legs feel fine.
I looked at Garmin’s body battery for Saturday, and, well, it didn’t look good. (There are three rides: a short, easy climb to the start from the hotel, the ride, and the short downhill back to the hotel.)
The strain did not seem ok and did not seem like something to compound so I made the decision to bail on the third day, a short uphill tt.
While I did not do well and sometimes it felt like the medical cars were circling like vultures in their overwatch, it was a great event. The Haute Route organization was terrific (they did add a feed station on the second day, possibly because so many ran out of water on the first day, good adaptability) and I’d like to do this event again next year (and not just finish it but finish strong). I met with and rode with some great people, including some Americans who flew from the states for the event, some great Italians, a French guy, a woman whom I already “knew” from Strava (we follow each other, she’s in a neighboring canton and we ride similar routes, and we have mutual friends IRL) but we didn’t meet in person until the feed station under the dam, among others. Misery loves company and that provided good bonding for a number of us as we leapfrogged each other, rode with each other, and pushed each other.
I did not get to meet @Aeroiseverything, though I did see him fly down a hill I was still climbing (and would continue to climb for too long). Hopp! Hopp! Allez! He had a fantastic race at the other end of the event from me.
Not many pics, unfortunately. And none taken in the best spots. The first is the view from my hotel room, which was quite nice. Directly ahead about 25 miles, though not visible due to the mountains even if the clouds were gone, is the Matterhorn.
Getting near the top of a climb when I decided now would be a good time to dismount and take a photo.
And the approach to a massive damn and the end of the first climb of the second day. (The better photo is from the feed station at the top, which of course I didn’t take