Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

Ride reports for everything *but* the Tuesday-Thursday morning ride

Proof that I’m back home- rectangular hay bales

IMG_2519_DxO1200First Sunday ride back home after France, so naturally I had to do the usual, the reference ride as it were. Old LaHonda, Pescadero, Tunitas. Solo today; Kevin’s spending time with his girlfriend. Got off to a late start, since I had to watch the final stage of the Tour de France, the Paris finale. A bit odd not being there, and even now I’m playing through my mind the timeframe of coming home, what time it is presently in France (7:54am as I type this), arriving home tomorrow evening. But that wasn’t the schedule this year; we did the middle and came home this past Monday. A week early.

Woman I scared with my heavy breathing on Old LaHonda
Woman I scared with my heavy breathing on Old LaHonda
But I’m not in France anymore, and the proof is in the picture. Rectangular hay bales, not the rolled-up version you see everywhere in France.

Old LaHonda went a bit better than I expected, getting under 23 minutes for the first time since April. Scared the crap out of a woman climbing up the hill; she heard my breathing, even over the music playing in her ear buds, and kinda jumped.

Haskins also went a bit better than I thought, just under 10. It didn’t feel all that fast, but Strava doesn’t lie. All the way out to Pescadero I was feeling pretty good, but probably ate too much for Tunitas and felt bogged down on the steep stuff. Hoping for 48 minutes, but ended up with just a few seconds under 50.

By the time I got home I was pretty much dead, which was a bit surprising. At least Strava’s “suffer score” was fairly high (216), indicating the hard effort was not all in my mind.

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A *VERY* eventful day following the TdF on Sunday (entry after this will explain)

I actually felt pretty good at the top, but not quite in the celebrative mood as Kevin, 5 fingers for the 5 big Cols this trip.
I actually felt pretty good at the top, but not quite in the celebrative mood as Kevin, 5 fingers for the 5 big Cols this trip.
View from the top of the Col du Grand Columbier
View from the top of the Col du Grand Columbier

Our spot to view the race was pretty spectacular, and should have been the most-memorable part of the day. The next entry will explain why that wasn't the case.
Our spot to view the race was pretty spectacular, and should have been the most-memorable part of the day. The next entry will explain why that wasn’t the case.

Finally got a chance to start catching up and report on quite the day last Sunday, two days and a world away.

Overall one of our best, and don’t want to say worst but certainly most-challenging day ever at the Tour de France. It started out well; headed out on an 8:30am train from Lyon to Culoz to catch the stage ending on the Col du Grand Columbier. Train was on time, and the route I’d mapped out worked great.

The climb is incredible; from the route we took, it starts out fairly “easy” (about like climbing Kings), passing through a number of tiny villages, and then beings to ramp up… and up. Thankfully you get a change to take a rest on grades maybe 7-8% before the next 14% grade hits you. I was watching my power and heart rate, trying to find a pace I could maintain and not end up flaming out like I did on the Tourmalet. For the first 2/3rds of the climb, I might have even had a bit of an advantage on Kevin, but as we neared the top, where you go around this corner thinking you must be near the top and then look up… WAY up… and realize those people wouldn’t be lining the hillside if that wasn’t the route… that’s where Kevin took off and I couldn’t respond, only watch.

If Elton John attended the TdF, this is probably what he'd look like...
If Elton John attended the TdF, this is probably what he’d look like…

We arrived at the top a good hour ahead of my plan (which was admittedly conservative and based on Kevin still having some knee issues, which thankfully didn’t materialize). This wasn’t our destination though, nor did it have food. The top of a huge climb at the Tour de France and no food? What’s with that???

We headed down the other side, continuing on the race route, stopping at the top of what would be the Lacets du Grand Columbier (the final climb) that the riders would loop back up before finally descending to the finish. One more time to do the Caravan thing and then we descended to find a good spot to view the race.

Afterwards we raced back down towards the train station, wanting to catch the earliest-possible train back to Lyon since we had to pack the bikes and try to get a few hours sleep before catching a 5:50am train to CDG (Paris airport). Didn’t quite work out as planned. That’s in the next entry, which should go live around 9am 7/21. –MikeJ

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