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Ian's Training Log

I raced the Mountains......

tripyreneesby tripyreneesSep 6th 2009
I raced the Mountains......
It was the La Lapebie cyclosportive today, a very local race to us. A 107 km route taking in the Col des Ares, Col de Buret, Col de Mente and the Col de Portillon. Not a bad set of climbs and the organisers had set a time of 4 hours 15 mins for the Gold award. So that was my goal - I wanted to see how fast I could go and at which point I would blow to pieces.

I started in the middle of the pack, about 400 I would say. I was freezing cold before the start as the sun had not come up and I had waited indoors too long so missed getting up at the front. The gun went off and I my first goal was to hit the start of the Col des Ares in 30 mins. That was 25 km away. I slowly picked myself through the peloton which was 20 riders wide and traveling at 60 kph - these are full on races with lead cars, outrider motorbikes, both sides of the roads used and both ways around the roundabouts - fun stuff. There was a very technical section coming up so I had to move up to be safe. I took this section with ease and then out of the saddle took the small rise placing me right up there. On the ride down, without realising, formed a new arrow on the peloton and lead the now 200 strong bunch into the first island - dilemma, which way to go (just follow the lead car with the flashy lights - not seen these before) and then "what the F%^k am I doing on the front.

We hit the Col des Ares in 31 minutes and cruised the first half of the climb in the bunch which had now blown to pieces. An English guy I know road past me and tapped my arse - WTF, this guy I would normally ride into the ground, where the hell did he come from. I caught him on the descent and took the next Col and he re-caught me. Crap, he must have been putting in the miles. It is a long drag to the base of the first of the two Category 1 climbs, the Col de Menté - 11 km and about 800m of ascent. I started the 10 % thinking I was going to be dropped like a stone. I followed a really fit looking guy and then got bored and passed him. I then passed another, I then passed the English guy and then I kept passing people. There is a very short sharp descent that I took at speed and caught another 10 riders. For the whole 11 km I was only passed by 5 riders but must have pasted 50. What the hell, I am no climber at all. I needed to be at the base of the Col de Menté in 2 hours 30 mins to be on pace. I descended like a pro (even if I say so myself) as my descending has come on allot over the past few years and knowing every bend like the back of my hand helps a great deal. 80 kph with no brakes allowed me to gain allot of time and I was at the base in 2 hrs 25 mins.

Then there is a massive drag over the border into Spain and the start of the Col de Portillon. I was on the front with about 5 on my wheel. I started to slow calculating the speed I needed to do. I was tiring, I knew I was going to bonk but that was what I was here for - I had eaten my 3 Gels and had half a bottle left for the final climb. I slowed more and flicking my elbow, nobody was coming through. I near enough stopped before they took their turn. My next goal was to be at the top of the Portillon by 4 hours. I started well but knowing I was out of juice this was going to hurt allot. I hit the 5 km to go sign and started re-calculating the speeds - I needed to keep above 10 kph. I was doing 15, then 14 then 11...keep it there. I was slowing and dropped to 9.5. I laughed at myself for being such a plink - come on - re-calculate and keep you legs moving above 10. I went up to 10.5, 3 km to go. Then dropped down a gear and stood up. I had 2 km to go and then the 1 km to go and I was out of the saddle catching a couple of guys who had passed me. It was 3 hours 57 mins. The Gold was in reach but I had 12 km to go to the line. I had to do this 12 km in 18 mins. Head down, big ring and my 12 sprocket. Standing up and sprinting down a 10 % grade.

I overtook a mass of people, I hit one corner to fast and went wide just as a car came round - I had to jump my back wheel around with 3 mini skids and grazed my elbow on his rear wing. All I heard were the shouts as I span away. A few more tight corners and then a long straight. I hit the town, the marshals were doing their jobs fantastically as I took each 90 deg corner at 50 kph. I over took more people and then saw the line - I sprinted and caught two more directly on the timing mat. Job done and I was seeing stars - I was out of it, my legs shredded and my HR averaged 170 for the whole race.

I did it, I managed to do the final 12 km in 10 minutes and clinched 4 hours 07 minutes to get the gold award. I am very pleased and realised you can really race these mountains - it is not just survival anymore.

sleepy ;o)
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Sep 9th 2009 08:49
Awesome Ian! My heart rate was at 170bpm just reading about it!
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