In just a few days I will be packing up my Canyon Ultimate CF, chucking a handful of clothes and energy gels into a messenger bag then boarding a plane to The Pyrenees.
More specifically to; The Circle of Death.
This will be my first time riding my road bike outside of the United Kingdom. And I don’t think we could have chosen a better part of the world for me to really stretch my climbing legs. I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a climbing specialist because, well, I’m short and skinny with long* legs. Until now though I’ve only been able to test myself on climbs of no more than 2 or 3 miles in length.
This is going to be a bit of a wake-up call.
Over the course of a week we will take on such climbs as the Col Du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and Col du Soulor, and I would like to have a good crack at all of them. I have been training pretty hard leading up to this trip and my power to weight ratio is the best it’s ever been. Will this be good enough to take a Strava KOM? Probably not, but I want to try my luck on some of the most famous climbs in the World.
We will be staying at the Au Primerose Hotel in Argelès Gazost just north of Luz-Saint Sauveur and the foot of the Tourmalet. Weather reports show that currently the mountains are chaos. With snow rapidly melting causing flash floods and landslides. Let’s hope it clears up before next week! The climb from the West remains closed but if the-worst-comes-to-the-worst we can always go up from the East.
Last Sunday as a final training climb I headed North in the car and parked up in Tebay where I cycled twenty-something miles to the foot of The Great Dun Fell. This is the perfect place to train for the high mountain passes of Europe. There is nothing else like it in England. At just shy of 5 miles at 8.4% grade it is tough. Especially if the wind is blowing in your face!
Luckily that day there was very little wind and I was able to put in a nice effort and a pretty decent ascent. I’m sure there are seconds to be shaved off, maybe even minutes and I think I would benefit from having a 28 on the back rather than my normal 26. I hate grinding my way up a climb but with this one there’s no other option!
I felt as though the power I put out going up TGDF was something I could sustain for up to an hour so I’m really looking forward to giving some Col’s my all next week!
As a sidenote, it does seem I’m suffering from a cold and hayfever. Pretty badly actually. I just hope it clears up before next week!