Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cormet de Roselend


Due to the complete absence of a Springtime the mountain snow is now being subject to a sudden Summer heat wave and this is flooding the gorges with dark sediment laden water in spectacular fashion.

The water photos taken here were at Bonneval on the climb up to the Cormet de Roselend. Somewhere outside of the Alps there is going to be a massive build up of silt this year when it all settles down  to the river bed. I didn’t get close to the water because although the ambient air was in the 30°C range the water would probably be close to freezing.

The actual workout up the mountain was yesterday in 35°C and having made another big climbing trip two days earlier I took it relatively easy – staying aerobic, drinking and eating at the top of the climb. It’s nice to be out in the sun and for it to be hot even at 2000m altitude. My quad instert on both knees was painful (since Time Mégève) at the start of the ride but the pain gradually vanished and never returned – even after the 115k trip.

The workout started with nasal breathing but with the heat and relative tiredness that was soon abandoned. (I’d done another 75k workout two days earlier). Focus went on to simply managing drink and food issues and also on good technique. Altogether on the 5hr 13m trip I drank 2 litres of sports drink plus a Coke and ate cheese quiche tart in Beaufort (evening meal!) This allowed me to feel strong for the entire workout – instead of arriving back home at Aime exhausted as usual with my head and body totally wrecked. It was a nice feeling. I think it was the combination of staying sub lactic acid threshold and managing the food and drink correctly. I was tired to start off so in theory the workout should not have gone so well (according to past experience).

Chi Cycling

I focused a lot on technique – specifically chi technique during the climbing. I’d noticed that top climbers actually move around quite a lot and get their head above the foot pushing down on the pedal.This allows the other leg to remove weight from the upwards pedal very easily. The “push” and pulling back of the hip on the same side helps the body move over that pedal while the pulling of the of the other hip forward (as that leg flexes and pulls up) also helps to get the weight shifted over the weighted pedal. 

Later, when back in the saddle I suddenly felt that the same amount of internal motion felt like releasing a brake! When this action is used strongly in skiing it’s actually invisible to any observer when is not fully aware of the outcome – so it surprised me when the penny suddenly dropped that it was the same here and that much more internal body movement was required than I might have considered. It felt like the engine had now shifted to the spine instead of the legs. I can see now why a rigid motionless position with the legs just pumping against this – is isolating the leg muscles unnaturally and overloading them. This is probably what causes leg cramps and pain.


On the later “photo” expedition we saw the sheep being led to their Alpine pastures for the summer – three weeks later than usual!

At 2000m the snow was just clearing so the special “vernal” flowers were popping out. Those flowers are always the first to appear when the snow clears…





Once the grass grows back the pastures take on an extremely rich allure…

Silty water powering through the Bourg St Maurice kayak slalom course…

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