Monday, September 02, 2013

Haute Route Pyrenees Day 2 - Real Road Racing

Day 2 - La Seu d'Urgill to Plan de Beret, 120 km, 3500m+, 2400m-

Real course profile, photo from the briefing
What I like about racing in the Pyrenees so far is that the course is more like a road race than focused grunt climbs as in the Alps.

Start area in La Seu d'Urgill with Team Black Widows in pink.
My roomie Caroline is on that team.

I'm in the first wave of riders, off - photo

One of our first climbs. See, I'm not the only one
 that stand climbs! - photo

Four women in a good working peloton (me in blue jacket)
included Laetitia and Valerie  - photo

At around 25 km, the grade leveled out to a nice 5-6% where I upped the pace. A few guys followed. I had no idea if the girls were joining in. The grade then zipped up to 8%. I now had to stay at the guys' pace.

We worked together to the top, then I followed a couple guys down. The descent was fast, with wider corners than the Alps.

Once we hit the bottom, the next 35 km was rolling slightly climbing with a headwind. A good peloton gathered with riders along the way. I took a few pulls though knew better to keep sheltered to recover for the next climb.

the switchbacks with headwind - photo hauteroute.orb

When the 8% climb started, the peloton was weary in general. The pace was manageable yet my breath rate was high. I stayed with them until 8 km to go to the 101 km mark and the summit of Port de La Bonaigua. My breathing was pretty loud as I worked hard amongst the guys.

Dropping off that pace to my own workable breath-rate, I had to face the headwind on my own. Fortunately, the switchbacks could be seen in front of me and the scenery would take my mind off my weariness. I even saw the most wicked waterfall seemingly falling in slow motion.

As I was 2 km from the top, a strong Swiss guy came by. I managed to stay on his wheel to the summit. I was lucky to have him to follow on the descent at blazing speeds 74.5 kph.

The final climb to Plan de Beret was on my own. It was only another 6 km then a 1+km flat section. A few switchbacks helped.

I was surprised to see many horses loose grazing. They were short and stocky, and were entertaining to watch as I climbed. Some crossed the road in front of me like the elk and sheep at home (or in the Okanagan). The last km was welcome with a fast slight descent.


I stopped at the feed table and sipped some coke. When I turned around, I was surprised to see Marina just finishing. Apparently, she had a flat early in the race, had to work a lot of the sections on her own, passed the Ski Mountaineer Girls on the Port de La Bonaigua.

Squeezing in the middle!
I was not sure if Marina finished in enough time to keep her leader’s jersey. It would be cool to wear it one time!

The finish was at the top of a desolate ski resort at this time of year, the 2nd largest in Spain, Bacqueira de Beret. An awesome lunch was provided. After lunch, we still had a 22 km descent to ride to our host village of Vielha.

Quite a few racers offered their congrats as they had seen my wicked climbing technique in action and working! (failed abit first few days at the Alps)

Ended up I am still 21 seconds away from Marina’s total time. She was super strong with her ride today. 

photo out my hotel window

Shared my winning prize of local foods with a few racers at the briefing…. Local Beer, amazing sausage, a scary jar with a picture of a pig on it assumably pork pate, a local honey!

 All Haute Route POSTS

No comments: