It is really dumping outside as we sit in our car outside a laundromat in LaGrave, waiting for our clothes to dry. We had planned a short ride today but not in this muck and certainly not on one of the “cliff” roads with sheer drop offs! Thankfully this rain is a one-day gig; it’s going to be pretty nice for the three stages in the Alps and the Grenoble time trial.
After yesterday’s ride, we feel like a day off the bike won’t kill us.
Update: In Bourg d’Oisons at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez, shopping for supplies for next couple of day’s rides. It’s cleared up and now we wish we had our bikes! But we can still get in the ride on the cliff road the morning of the Alpe d’Huez stage. We can still hit all the items we’d planned.
The longest day? Maybe! Two flat tires delayed us enough that we barely got back before dark, but we did it. Col du Glandon, Col de Croix de Fer , Telegraphe and the Galibier. This was the big ride we hoped to accomplish, and we did. Was it easy? No. Memorable? Heck yeah! We pushed ourselves to the limit, and had not a few but many people staring at our silly “little” bikes. Do they ride as nice as a Trek Madone? No way. But you can’t put a Trek Madone into a suitcase and easily travel with it!
Click here for photos and descriptions of the ride. –Mike–
Somewhere in France two Americans are stuffing themselves silly before embarking on a challenging afternoon (and evening?) ride through the Vercors region. We arrived by train in a small town miles from nowhere (St Haire/Nazaire, a town so nice they named it twice) and now will ride 65 miles back to Grenoble. With as much as we’ve eaten, we won’t have to worry about bonking!
We’ve arrive at the main train station in Lyon, where I’m standing in a long line that moves like molasses because? Are people planning their vacations in real-time at the ticket counters? You see the sane people at the same counter for 5, 10 minutes. Why? How hard is it to say you need tickets to Toulouse or Paris or Nice or wherever? We’ll eventually get to Grenoble, but will it be today?
The plan was to have all the loose ends tied up early so I could get to bed at a reasonable hour and do the regular Thursday morning ride before leaving for the airport. That plan was laid to waste by the big sale that starts Friday; way too much stuff to get done, and just when I was about to write off one of the biggest tasks (new hangtags for every bike on sale) I had an epiphany.
Seriously. A real live epiphany. As in, I’d been fighting this one for some time, it really seemed beyond my technical abilities, and then, at 9pm, I realized I had already written an SQL query that was doing almost the exact same thing! And thus began a three hour ordeal in which I did get the job done, but got to bed sometime past 2am.
And I have to get up for the ride at 7.
So I went to bed thinking Kevin would appreciate the opportunity to sleep in (I always have to wake him up) but at 7:03am there he is next to the bed, saying “Aren’t you getting up?” And for the briefest of moments I was thinking, 4 hours sleep, but how can I rationalize missing the ride? Then I remembered that I’d forgotten to bring my bike back home from the shop (I planned to pick it up around 11pm, naively thinking I’d be done by then). Saved! But Kevin went on his own and had a very nice ride.
I got going earlier than I wanted to, not really sleeping after Kevin left, but clearly not coherent because on the way to the airport we realize we left the cytomax at home… Not quite fatal but close… and then after checking out bags Kevin asks where the backpack with the camera gear is. Um, er,… Quick call to Becky who does another round trip to the airport and delivers both camera bag AND cytomax, literally saving the trip. We might be able to live with a substitute for Cytomax (although we didn’t want to find out!) but it’s not like we can go out and buy $2000 in extra camera gear.
And why is the camera gear so important? Because if it’s not documented in words and photos, it didn’t happen. Simple as that!
Turns out to have been a good thing we didn’t get to the airport early and catch the earlier flight, since that flight was delayed an hour and we wouldn’t have made our connection at Dulles. So maybe my lack of a brain this morning worked out for the best. Although it was more an issue of preoccupation with work stuff that messed things up. Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
9:55pm Made it on plane to Frankfurt and had enough time to set up mobile hotspot and send files from laptop. Close but worked! Bye until Frankfurt- Mike
65 miles on the Bike Fridays Sunday, the regular ride this morning (actually yesterday since it’s 1:45am) so maybe my legs are ready for France but I could use a bit of sleep!
Be careful what you wish for. That thought comes to mind sometimes, as I try to help others out who want to know how to climb faster. Wednesday that was Terry, one of our summer employees (between college sessions). He’s light and really looks like he ought to be able to climb, but to ride with the Tuesday/Thursday group, he’s had to get a pretty good head start and even then would get caught half-way up the hill.
But Wednesday he tells me how, on Monday night (the night before another fairly-slow ride up Kings) he kinda sorta skipped dinner, and when I asked him about breakfast before the ride? Ohmygosh, it was two bowls of cereal and a banana. Ouch. That much milk, that much food, that soon before a ride? Maybe if he’d gotten up at 4am and eaten all that, but just before riding? This is only a 27 mile ride, not an all-day marathon where, if you start slow, you can make up the time later. So I suggested he do what Kevin does, which is something to drink and a Clif bar (or power bar or whatever; point is, it’s something but it’s not much).
This morning? He probably took 3 or 4 minutes off his time! Just over 30, and most of us never caught up to him. Amazing improvement. So now I’ve created yet another potential climbing monster. Doubtful I’ll ever see one again like Tracy Colwell though. That goes back quite a number of years. I don’t think I actually taught him how to climb, but helped him a bit here & there, and maybe, watching me, he learned that suffering was good, if it meant you were putting the hurt on the other guy. Tracy isn’t a 17 year old kid anymore; now he’s got young kids (10 or 11?) of his own, but he’s still one of the very fastest climbers around.
Me? I just try and keep up.
Oh, right, roll call. As if I can remember now. Todd, Kevin, Murph(y?), Zack, Marcus, Karen, Terry… as always, I feel like I’m leaving someone out. Missing in action for a while will be Karl, who broke his collarbone. Again.