Day 2 already! Todays schedule consisted of a nice run in the morning, and a long bikeride in the afternoon. This was the part I was a bit anxious about. As cycling is not my strength.
Yesterday we did a brief introduction round. Like me a couple are training for Ironman Maastricht. Others had different goals, like the Embrunman (full distance) or used the week as a nice rampup for their season. The group was a nice mix of 6 people.
We got up early for the run. We set off around 8 am. The run was great! Temperature was comfortable in an amazing scenery. It had a lot of different surfaces so sometimes a bit tricky. But nothing major. Back at “base” it was time for a good breakfast. As you can expect from the french, a lot of nice fresh baguette, croissants or yoghurt.
We also received our lunch packages, which basically consisted of:
- half a baguette with tuna salad, or egg, tomato’s, cheese, things like that (differed each day).
- Can of soda
- bottle of water
- bag of crisps
It was time to prepare for the long bikeride. This is the part I was nervous about. How would I coop within the group? How well can I handle the mountains? Being from flevoland, where the roads are really long, straight, flat as a pancake, and windy, would I be able to climb a mountain? How will I decent?
Before the camp I spoke with Edo about the gears. He advised to put on climbing gears, as we are climbing in the alps after all…Stupid as I am. I didn’t think of that until the week before, So I wasn’t able to arrange the climbing gears. Luckily, Edo found a spare one in his collection. So we got that sorted before the ride.
With everyone ready, it was time to set off!
The route looks like this:
It is around 100km, with some rolling hills, and some searious climbs. We rode it clock-wise. After we set off. The first several kilometers are all rolling. It first part where it would be a bit of a longer climb, was towards Le Sauz du lac. My first climinb test…I tried to stick to technique, like I would do with a headwind. Pick a gear I can get round and just keep spinning, just keep spinning…. Before the start of the climb, we discussed that we would always wait at the top. And Edo would check with everyone how things are going.
I stuck to my plan, and it turns out, I can climb quite well! This gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to enjoy the ride and the amazing scenery.
At the top we waited for everyone to be there. It turns out a lot of villages have water “holes” or wells, where you can refill your bottles with fresh, clean cold water. From here on we would decent quite a long part, cross a small bridge, before we started the next climb.
Here I noticed one thing….I am HORRIBLE at decending, In this area I just lack the confidence, the steering technique and the experience. So I would be solid last on the way downhill. But I didn’t care about that. I took my time to keep it safe. I have a son at home after all. I know the others aren’t taking unneccessary risks, but I just couldn’t keep up.
On the next big climb. The scenery was epic! So we stopped for a few pictures.
The long road at the edge of the lake on the other side is where we decended.
Ofcourse some pictures from us:
Here is me close to that spot. And as you can see, I couldn’t resist to test out my new speedsuit!
We continued with the ride. One scenery more beautifull then the other.
On the far west of the map. After the bridge, was another filling station. Here we got a small explanation for the comping part. In short: we would ascent our way up, towards a dam. A lot of small hairpin turns, steep road, no wind, sun, and black walls of the mountain to act as an oven. That was basically the prospect. Then, when you are on top of the dam. There is a small downhill section on the other side. This offered only a small relief, as afterwards it was back to climbing in the blazing sun. After a while everyone regrouped on top of the mountain.
From here on it was smooth sailing downhill and rolling terrain back to the campsite. On the downhill it showed how poor my descend skills were. As I was going down one of the first, one of us came by flying, on his aerobars! To be fair, he lives in this area so he knows the terrain really well.
When we got back, it was time for a nice shower, and a well deserved dinner! Oh, as for the HR monitor issues?
They still persisted:
In fact, it got even worse. So I will stick to training by how I feel. Today that went well!
See you on day 3!