Thank you! My wife and 25 year old were cooing in delight!
After my shifter cable breaking on Thursday night I replaced it last night but unfortunately it jammed inside the frame so I had a more stressful evening than I expected. Most of the frame ended up getting stripped to get at the internal cables. So in the morning I thought I’d better test it. I was going to go out for a local ride but some mates said they were going for a coffee in Oundle. So I jumped out of bed and threw the bike in the back of the car and drove down to Cotterstock before a very short 2 miles ride to meet them. All seemed good on the short ride.
Lol, I see I got a PR on the way back on 15.6% Cotterstock climb. Who makes these segments up. There a very, very short climb 20m at 5% at the most, the area is pancake flat with a longer and very slight downhill before the climb. I and I think most folk very rarely actually turn right across traffic into the village but my car was parked there.
Onto the TT it was a short 10 miler on what is supposed to be the fastest course in Cambridgeshire. Not for me though, I have never got it on a good day and the busier road freaks me out. I was too busy going tempo and expecting the un expected that never came. Well nor until after the finish when my hastily recabled TT shifter decided to pop out I’m still 54s behind my PB for a 10miler.
Beautiful!!! Scenes like that make for a great ride, even if you’re suffering
Follow up to Where did you ride OUTSIDE today (2022) - #542 by PoweredByBacon, 2nd century of the summer has been completed.
My longest ride ever:
Licking Valley Century just outside of Cincinnati, OH, USA.
It was a bit windy (15mph) but sunny and a mild enjoyable temperature.
The fam is away, so I took the opportunity for a long lazy ride!
I don’t smoke weed, but im guessing this is how it feels
Soundtrack playing in my head:
Three days on the home trail (Lake Whelchel Trail, Gaffney, SC)
Getting ready for the next Blue Ridge Adventures race.
A gravel ride for me today down to Holly Lodgehttps://www.hollylodge.org/cafe/.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at Garmin
First morning ride this week, we started a remodel on Friday and it got in the way.
Nice and easy. The grass is brown and grapes are green:
I rode in our local XC race on Wednesday, so prior to that I swapped out my Nobby Nic tire on the rear for a race tire.
I didn’t change it, and went for a ride this evening up a 1800 ft climb, then down a rocky downhill trail.
The race tire and the rocks did not get along. Poked a hole in the tread. The sealant didn’t work. The plugs (stans dart) were more than worthless, as not only did they not work, but I spent an extra 5 mins faffing about with them while getting bitten by mosquitos. Good thing my tube didn’t have any holes in it.
Was a beautiful evening for a ride however. Things were still going peachy by the time of these pics.
Almost made it over the peak, but half a river under the melting snow.
Another few weeks for the good view, but damn good workout for my calves at least.
If those are the “not good” views, I can’t wait for your future pics
This weekend was Haute Route Alpe d’Huez for three days of not-flat riding. I arrived Thursday after a not-bad six-hour drive from home just in time to pick up the race pack, check into the hotel, and return for the race briefing.
Day 1: The 7:00a start for Friday was under a great sky with beautiful views. Normally, two distances are offered: standard and a shorter “compact” route. However, because the weather forecast indicated a good rain and increasingly strong winds – HR smartly restricted all riders to the compact.
The mailman dropped off my new Garmin 1040 Thursday morning, so I had a chance to play with that a bit before and to use it for this weekend. So, it said I would be good at long, flat courses. Swell. Well, this is probably because I’m not 92kg with the same FTP when I was at my race weight of 79kg 4yrs ago, making the wt/kg slope point in the wrong direction. However, it did kindly report that my Stamina and Potential were 99% on Day 1, but more on that later.
Here’s a Relive video incorporating some of my GoPro footage:
Or… the GoPro vid
It was a nice catered workout of 57 miles with 8k’ of climbing. The rain in the last third didn’t bother me, but after hanging around the finish, I was happy to get to the hotel for a hot shower.
Day 2 was beautiful with the rain gone. The temperature was good and the day was nice. Here, I opted for the compact as I saw no need to be terribly masochistic, with a bit of acknowledging that I’m not in nearly the shape I thought I might be. This is the day of the cows. I was riding slowly behind the cows because I didn’t care about my time. The compact route put me in front of the lead riders racing for GC ranking in the standard distance. These are the riders seen pushing through the cows in the earlier cow video. Day 2 started in the valley, which meant a fun descent down Alpe d’Huez’s famous turns.
That’s the Relive video, here’s the GoPro
Day 2 had some warmth, but it wasn’t particularly hot, generally. The Garmin reported temps did reach and sit around 90F / 32C but the norm was lower. Overall, it was a good way to do 7k’ of climbing in 30miles.
Returning to the Garmin 1040, at the start of the ride, it reported that my Stamina & Potential were 52%. Hmm, yeah, I didn’t sleep great and all of that. Halfway through the ride, I thought I’d check in on its “opinion” and it now declared both S & P were… “<1%”. I laughed to myself and kept rolling.
My personal after-action report for both of these days was that, once again, I under-fueled, rather severely. I did better on the second day but it was still inadequate. I don’t know what’s up mentally with me and cycling and failing to fuel as I used to be decent at this. So on Day 3, my main goal was shoveling, or, more accurately, pouring calories into me.
Day 3 was a time trial up Alpe d’Huez. Conveniently, as I wasn’t near the tip of the spear like @Aeroiseverything, my call time was early in the morning as the send off times were slowest to fastest. (My position on the spear was more like behind the ideal handhold.) Garmin said my S & P were 80-something for the start, which was nice. Again, the start was in the valley, so the morning started with a nice roll down for 8.65mi in 21min with great views.
Pumping in the gels helped this time. I kept steady, watching Garmin’s new Power Guide screen more as a distraction than a trigger to push or ease up as I kept at a perceived sustainable effort level. After the cresting the climb, there is a short flat bit, about .5 mile, and then a slight climb to the finish. It was on this flat and climb that I realized there was a lot left in my tank and rather too comfortably pushed 500 and up to 700w watts without suffering. Not only do I need to rediscover my fueling but I also need to rediscover my limits.
Anyway, for the 9.8mi climb with 3650’ of ascent, I am happy with a .9 IF, especially since I felt great at the end and stood around and chatted with IE, GB, US, and other folks for a long while. Then I returned to the hotel, showered, hit the road for home. It was a good weekend.
I have to say that when I rode up Alpe d’Huez in 2004, it felt good. My wife and I were riding “with” the tour with a group (a company by one of her b-school friends). One of the tour guides and I were joking and chatting going up the climb as we passed people. A good memory of being 18yrs younger and more fit… (I’m on the left in the red & blue jersey.)
It was fun just now going through pictures of the helmet-less tour riders that passed by later that day… There was also this guy:
This morning was an easy spin on my gravel bike (I needed to at least show it some love).
Thanks for posting about your epic adventure!
So cool … thanks!
I had Grassy Ridge in my calendar tonight (a low level VO2Max session, 3 blocks of 9number 30 on, 30 offs). After that I went on for another 2h at cool down power as it was such a nice evening.
Now for the cool down:
Thanks for the write up.
I think it was a really great event in an absolutely beautiful scenery.
My wife and I arrived in Alpe d‘Huez the Saturday before, to be able to really make the most of being in cycling paradise.
I think it might not have been super conducive to a good power, with sleeping at altitude 5 days before the event is probably the worst you can do (too short for acclimatization, long enough for reduced recovery to become a factor).
I gotta say that it still was worth it. I scouted all the routes in advance, worked on my descending, was able to adapt to the heat (the week before the event was mega hot, while the event was rather well tempered) and most importantly: really enjoy cycling life
The first day we were there I did the Compact Stage 2 together with my wife. While also scouting the first descent of the race:
It was mega hot that day, and I did my best domestique-ing to get my wife up the Sarenne in 35C in the sun.
The route was utterly beautiful though, with the Alpe d‘Huez balcony route offering amazing panorama of The Valley:
Once you pass by the barrage in Mizoen, the Sarenne becomes pretty brutal for short stints, and the air can get proper stuffy:
Pretty happy to arrive at the Col:
The other days I did shorter rides (before or after work) to recon the route a little more and to open up the legs:
A particular highlight is definitely the climb up to Alpe d‘Huez through Villard Recular. It’s not as steep or as iconic as the standard ascent, but it sure is beautiful. Hardly any traffic and great views:
Then the Haute Route started and I won‘t re-iterate everything, @mountainrunner did that super well already.
I was pretty wary on the first stage, because during last year‘s 3-Day Haute Route, I let the excitement get the better of me, and overpaced the first two climbs. Probably underfueled, too.
The result was a painful third climb on day 1 and one of the most dreadful experiences I‘ve had on a bike on day 2.
I therefore was super prudent, closely monitoring blood sugar, dialing nutrition before and after rides, adjusting bed times the entire week in advance, and pacing myself.
I think I underpaced by a good margin. The short notice of the stage being shortened probably contributed to that. I didn’t adjust my power targets, despite this and clearly had a lot left when I arrived in Alpe d‘Huez:
I placed 25th overall (around 200 starters) that day.
The Col de la Croix de Fer was a really beautiful climb. Amazing views and great scenery.
I am still waiting for the event photos so I only have this boring image XD
Average power for the first climb was 263W and 277NP (it has descents), and for the second climb I did 266W avg, 281NP.
Day 2 we had a full stage, and I was a little wary that I might have a miserable experience again. Some people went off like crazy on the lower slopes of the Alpe, but I tried to stay calm and did my thing, usually surfing wheels until I felt people got too slow for me.
I paced this Stage a little better than stage 1, but still pretty conservatively. All 3 climbs were steepest on the lower slopes, so I had set myself a 300W power target for around the first 5-15 minutes, and then 280 ish from there.
The first climb was 305W for 12 minutes, and then the remaining 20 minutes at 272W.
I felt that I was going at too little power, my heart rate was in Zone 2 the entire climb.
So I went 307W on Les Deux Alps climb for the first 16 minutes and 292W to the top. I collected a lot of people here and still felt fresh.
The pacing on Sarenne was almost the same as the climb before, just longer. 291W for the latter 44 minutes of that climb. That‘s also where I met mountainrunner again!
Arriving back on the top 4 hairpins of Alpe d‘Huez, I just went hard, 320W for the rest, and still didn’t see a heart rate of above 155.
I placed 19th on the stage, but only moved to 23rd overall, with the six riders ahead of me being separated by less than 4 minutes.
In the hours after, I met HR Ambassador Ed Laverack, whom I follow on YT, and had a nice chat with him. Really cool guy, and amazing climber (he has the Sa Callobra KOM, and is currently 6th on AdH):
I also snuck into one of his videos on stage 1 XD
I was pretty nervous the night before stage 3, always thinking about how to pace the iTT, and that I could move up the rankings etc.
I went out over 1 hour before my call time to get a good warm up in, in The Valley, and also to get pre-hydrated and pre-fueled.
Bike was set up as light as possible, and I went in full aero and lightweight bling:
My power target was 320W, and goal was to go top 20. A cool 100m into the climb, I was overtaken by my 20 second man.
He was riding out of the saddle the entire time. I had to calm myself and not try to chase. It didn’t look sustainable and I felt I could reel him in later.
20 minutes later I was proven right. I was overtaken by one guy in total and overtook at least 20 riders myself. Most of whom in the latter half of the climb, where people who had overpaced faltered.
I stayed on 324W until the final 15 minutes of the climb, where I pushed the average to 327W/332NP.
I just managed 10th of the day, and was kicking myself for not going harder earlier, probably could have gotten to the next spot on GC still.
Nevertheless, super happy with that and my first top 20 finish on an HR, with a very strong field of riders (including a former Brazilian National Champion, who won GC, and Ed and Illi Gardener, who are world class climbers):
With the feeling of still having left some in the tank, this gives me a very good feeling for HR Alps, where prudence and pacing will be a lot more necessary, to not completely hit the wall.
Totals for the 7 days were: 423k, 12‘800m elevation gain, 20h on the bike, 3 climbs off the bucket list, loads of Vitamin D, and tons of great memories.
Together with 5 friends (aged 45-55), I rode a 230 km MTB-tour this weekend in the north of Belgium. Started at dawn and we aimed/planned to make it before sunset, with several stops for food/drinks. Varied surfaces (gravel, trails, singletracks, asphalt,…). A physical challenge for sure, but we all made it. With my 26" old MTB, I held my ground against the other guys with their fancy 29" gravelbikes
Was a great day! The beers we drank 30 km before the finish, tasted like heaven.