Monday, August 22, 2011

Stage 2 Hot Shaded Haute Route

Stage 2 – 100 km, 3000m elevation gain

Neutral start was only 10 km though the roads were pretty bumpy. With a downhill warmup we went up the first climb Col des Saisies at race pace on a sweet average grade 7%. I was back to my old self climbing big chain ring (50 cog) and hung with the 2nd peloton of guys. The lead woman on the mixed team was super strong to keep with the front pack.
race photo
Long descent with the 2nd & 3rd mixed teams catching me at the bottom. Their pace was tough to hang onto for the next climb so I went at my own pace still going well. The best climb of the day was the Col du Cormet de Roseland… the top was super scenic with the turquoise blue reservoir amongst the peaks.
race photo
The descent was equally fun… fast… swoopy until the many sharp switchbacks. A couple cyclists skidded out on their own though no-one super hurt. The yellow Mavic vehicles were on support duty with wheels and bikes - something for them to do after le Tour.

We passed through the town Bourg-St-Maurice which was different in its square building structures and not typical Euro scenic.

It was hot today, 32C, though fortunately the first two climbs were shaded most of the way. The last climb to Les Arcs 1800 ski resort would have been favourable for me with a nice 6-7% grade. Now we were climbing in the hot sun and energy levels were lower. I decided to ease my pace, chatting with a few riders that passed by.
Cool bike markers every km - race photo
With 6-km to go, Team SOLO passes me! At that point I packed it in, dropped into my small chain ring and spun up the hill half the speed I had been going. Seeing the teams work together today, it helps to have a strong person to follow the whole race. It would be more interesting to see the Solo woman of Team SOLO race on her own.

I chilled at my slo-mo pace and contemplated I’m at the point of packing in racing high-end. I truly miss racing “fast”. It used to be so easy. Finally made it to the top, yay! hot!

view on my walk with woman racer Gabi to the Race Briefing
Hotel rooms were ultra Euro and cute at the ski resort in some weird diagonal staircase anthill maze. Hanging with the Brit crowd now living in Geneva, was fun having some real dinner at a restaurant. I had my first ever Buckwheat Gallette, vegetarian. The pasta dinner: plain egg noodles with a mystery meat red sauce, white bun, and sugar chocolate cake. Note, no vegetarian option or health option!

5 am breakfast, 5:30 check out bags, 6 am depart by motorcycle headlamps down the hill for the 7:15 am start for a killer day!!
3 epic cols in one day… Madeleine, Telegraphe and Galibier!

Tomorrow’s stage scares me mostly being on the exposed climbs in the heat. 4000m elevation gain. Game plan is to bring my camera, chill out and have fun!

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