Category Archives: Haute Route

Final stage

Today’s final stage has been somewhat altered by a demand from Nice authorities for the peloton to arrive before storms forecast for the afternoon. So for us that means one less Col and a lot of neutralised riding today.

A bit of a disappointment but my body is very thankful. Especially after sleeping on a gym mat last night…

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Pra Loup à Auron

Today was the biggest day of climbing of the Haute Route, at 3800m. It could have been torture, but miraculously, despite all problems sleeping etc. my legs felt great today, better than they have done all week.

Today’s descents were so littered with precipitous drops that they were neutralised. Not good news for me as my descending means I usually place about 20 higher overall than my climb times. So I knew I had to hit this one hard to not lose too much time on the general classification. And I didn’t suffer for it until the last climb, where I was on the limit right from the first km. looks good for 72nd place today on the provisional results.

Six down, one to go. It’s long, at 175km, but not so many climbs and lots of neutralised kms into Nice. It’s an understatement to stay I’ll be glad to cross the line.

See my ride on strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/76877212

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Individual time trial

Today’s individual time trial was brutal. Straight up the whole way, with a last km that kicks up to a 10% average gradient, with a robust headwind thrown in for good measure. The summit offers some recompense with its jaw dropping views, making it feel like an achievement to have got there by bike from the valley bottom.

Today was a bad day and I suffered from not sleeping last night because of the road rash. I honestly would rather ride the Cime de la Bonnette all over again than have another shower as painful as the one I’ve just come out of!

My placing today was 100th. My worst so far of the week, but it’s enough for 65th overall with two days of riding left. And included losing 30 seconds to a dropped chain. Let’s hope I can rest properly and pick it up tomorrow!

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See my ride on strava here: http://app.strava.com/activities/76656603

Update: for those requesting pics of road rash…

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Recovery

… It takes on a new meaning when it’s road rash you’re recovering from.

Making our way down the mountain after the stage I lost my front wheel mid-hairpin. Leaving me and my bike sliding along the road. Maybe it was the bag I was carrying, maybe oil on the road, maybe a lack of focus after spending some time switching off in the race village after the stage.

Either way it makes for a bit of discomfort and a bit of a lesson. Still looking forward to the pro-style start ramp of the time trial though…

Serre Chevalier à Pra Loup

On paper today was easier and probably was on the bike too. Still, two big cols started the day. And for those of us staying in Briançon, a slightly chaotic start. We joined the moving peloton, with only a km or so to warm up the legs (and everything else) before hitting the Col D’Izoard.

So the first twenty minutes were hard ones. As were the next four hours actually. Stage races seem above all else like a test of knowing when to push, sometimes holding yourself back for the sake of staying power, sometimes going full gas to get on a group in a valley.

Worth a mention on today’s ride was the spectacular Gorges de l’Ubaye, through which we passed on a road barely clinging to the cliffs edge. Not for the first or last time this week an error here could be costly. But this was one of those moments when it stops hurting, the view is that good.

Individual mountain time trial tomorrow up nearly 1600m of the Cime de la Bonette. Let’s enjoy the rest of today’s recovery before we think about that…

See my ride on strava here: http://app.strava.com/activities/76374975

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GC

… Or General Classification. For those of you who haven’t seen my sponsorship page page, I have extra donations for the charity UK Youth riding on (sorry) a top 100 place in the Haute Route. It genuinely spurred me on today…

So, here’s the rundown:

Day 1 – 71st
Day 2 – 81st
Day 3 – 56th

… Overall that makes 59th (today was a big day). So far!