Sunday, August 28, 2011

Haute Route Stage 5 Eventful

Finished in one piece – a good thing! It was a super scenic day and eventful...

After the first 7 km of neutral start, I had a uterine cramp within 5 km of the fast paced hill climb which had me huddled in the bush for 5 min until it subsided (that monthly thing). Starting back into the field, I was riding in the middle pack with riders I hadn’t seen before, though it was fun to come by familiar faces like Iain (Brit living in Geneva).
race photo
The climb up the Col d’Izoard was beautiful, definitely a camera day. The first huge descent was fun after the switchbacks with bombing fast straight sections. I was with a pack of guys. Up ahead I saw a wet area on the right of the round-about we were to blaze thru. Not until I was on it, the slickness of the sand & water could be felt, a nice wet concrete mix which took my front tire out ever so slightly. I had a nice slide-out on the bike and was amazingly unscathed. The guys were awesome to stop to make sure all was ok. I found out later that others had slipped on this same spot earlier with the marshall not thinking to forewarn any future riders. One guy after me did not fair as well and was taken out of the race.

It took abit for me to get back in the groove of riding again. The next climb up Col de Vars spread everyone out especially with more headwind at the top. I eventually got back into the groove. I had good “solo” training with a 30 km descent on my own. Most riders stop to feed at the top whereas I have all my food and blaze thru. After a long 2-3% descending grade with a headwind, I was tuckered going up the last climb. I finally made it to the top to the little ski resort PraLoup. Housing was spread all over the valley. I had to ride back down 12 km only to take a shuttle back up 3km to another ski resort. There were only 10 of us housed here so I tucked in for the night. Had dinner at the only restaurant open in the summer and upon request for a vegetarian meal they made up a plate of salade, veggies and linguini.
view from Hotel Montana
Looks to be a peaceful night. Bonus is getting to join the neutral race only 3-km from my hotel as the racers need to come down the 12 km hill.

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