Continuing in the “All miles are not created equal” series (basically a reaction to Strava.com claiming that yesterday’s ride in the rain was worth just 80 on their score of suffering), we have this from last July’s trip to France. About 85 miles into our 103 mile Glandon/Galibier loop, darkness approaching quickly, yes, getting a bit on the cold side, and a sign on the side of the road that says 2 kilometers to go. One of those cute little tombstone signs you see on all the climbs in France. You either embrace them or avoid looking because you don’t want to know.
The trouble is, this one lies. 2k. How tough can that be? Barely over a mile! 6 times around the track! Except that it’s not, because the 2k the sign references is to the presently-closed tunnel that cuts off the top of the climb. True, you might not want to go through the tunnel, you might want to be able to say you climbed to the very top of the Galibier and didn’t wimp out. Or you might just want to get down off that mountain before the sun disappears. Good rationalization, but not available to us today.That final section is nasty, but the top is incredible, and you’re thankful the tunnel wasn’t open, giving you the opportunity to wimp out… because you just might have. But Strava tells the story; you would have missed out on about a kilometer at an average grade of just under 10%.