Had stopped training for a week due to the constant bad weather – raining, wind and cold – but on Sunday I decided that, as in skiing, the bad weather would have to be accepted and to just get on with it. Wrapping up in winter cycling gear made it tolerable. Paris saw its coldest temperatures for this time of year since the 19th century – below freezing – so much for the Global Warming hoax! It’s amazing how much fitness you lose in just a week of inactivity! It doesn’t help much either when you have been engaged in championship level eating binges during the time off. Cycling performance in the mountains appears to be linearly proportional to body weight. When you are heavy you go slow and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Monday – the sun shone through for the first time in weeks. So when Chris called up trying to get me to join up with himself and Justin at midday for a ride up to the Col de Petit St Bernard it was hard to resist. Tired legs from the previous day would make it a hard workout – but somehow I was still able to reach a max heart rate of 173 bpm a few times – which you just can’t do if the body is in recovery mode. It seems like reasonably hard workout like Sunday’s still leaves enough energy for a good hard workout the following day. It’s so hard to gauge those things. This is a long climb though – about 26km non-stop and I was suffering from the start keeping up – red-lining at 168 bpm when Chris was cruising at 145 bpm. Excess weight and not enough fitness! The sun stayed out though so the legs got a bit of colour at last and the body some well needed vitamin D. Near the top when we stopped about 500m before the snowploughs I got breathless when talking to Chris – so I continued. As soon as I started working again the breathlessness disappeared. Seems that this breathing issue has something to do with needing to warm down properly. Stopping suddenly after sustained maximum physical output seems to disagree with my body. On the way up I kept having to fall behind and go at my own pace for a while and then increase the effort on the flatter sections to catch up a bit. Each time it got steep my body weight was like dragging an anchor.
The guys working on top of the snow (to the right) are constructing a jump – over the road!
Some nutter has climbed Mont Pourri and descended to the left of the “Cavalier” (horseman – dark rock on the ridge upper/middle). The descent according to Chris is 50° and convex all the way down the top section. Looks like he was worried too because there is a traverse between each turn.
Someone else had climbed the Aguille Rouge at Les Arcs and skied back down. (Opposite the Col de Petit St Bernard)
Justin regretting using rubbish tyres!
Tuesday: Sun again in the morning so went out for an hour’s recovery ride. Legs now feel like jelly!