So enough of those little first category climbs, it’s time for some Hors Catégorie baby!
Today’s ride took me up to Col de la Croix de Fer via Col du Glandon, and then back up to Col du Mollard again.
This is a section of Stage 11 of this year’s Tour de France.
It began with a 10km spin down the Maurienne valley to Saint Etienne de Cuines where the climb begins.
I took a left up towards Glandon, (taking a right would mean you go up Col de la Madeleine, but more of that in a few days time).
It’s a steady climb averaging about 7% for the first 16km, but it lulls you into a false sense of security. I was taking it quite easy, my legs didn’t hurt too much, so I thought I was doing pretty bloody well. Then I remembered that the pros do this at twice my pace.
On top of the sudden realisation that I was actually not very good, the last 4km the gradient ramps up quite sharply. Great! 10%. 11%. 12%. 13%. 14%.
At this this point I was wishing all manner of pestilence upon the families of the people who built this road. My leg muscles began to burn and my lungs felt as if they were about to burst.
I did feel better when I got to the top of Glandon. Elation and relief were the emotions I felt as I was hunched over my handlebars dribbling onto my front wheel.
After the 2.5 km climb up to Croix de Fer, the narrow descent through the ski resorts has to be taken with caution. At some points in the road there isn’t enough room for an oncoming car and a descending bike. I took the ‘Tour de France’ descent off Col du Mollard as opposed to the one I did a couple of days previously. Very technical but a lot of fun.
Here’s a proper cyclist, Daniel Lloyd, who is about four thousand times better than me, with a proper insight into the climbs.
Cycling done: More than yesterday
Rocking and Rolling done: For some reason my brain is full of those shitty Eurodance pop tunes. Mainly the Numa Numa one, and the one that goes dip, di-di, dip, di-di, dip, di-di, dip etc. Total hell.
Vertical Gain: 2,069m