Thursday, August 19, 2010

Perseverance in the Pyrenees

Great ride yesterday.  112km in total.  Started from Algeres-Gazost (where our campsite is) and climbed the Col du Soulor (1474m) and pushed on to the Col d'Aubisque (1708m), which was part of stage 16 of this years Tour de France.

I left at 12:05 p.m. and Ged gave me 30 minutes head start before starting.  

The very first part of the climb was nice and gentle.  I almost thought it would be that enjoyable all the way through.  Silly me.  This is one of the routes the Tour does, of course it's gonna be tough.

I must say that these mountains are different, though.  Unlike the French Alps, the Pyrenees seem to be slightly smoother or docile.

I stayed out of the small cog for the first hour and 15 min of the ride but once the gradient kicked up past 7.5% I switched down.

Ged caught up with me with 3km to go to Soulor.  We stopped at Soulor for a quick break and to look at the wild horses.  We both admitted that we weren't feeling the usual power during this climb.  

A stud was actually trying to mate with a mare in heat while we were there.  Quite funny explaining to Ged how that sort of horse stuff works (sidenote:  I used to ride horses for several years).  

Then 10km more to Aubisque.  First few km were all downhill and beautiful.  Went quite fast past grazing cows and goats.  Almost like a videogame trying tto swerve around them.  

Then the climb started.  First 5% then 7%...then 8%.  Kind of a slog up to Aubisque.  

Really cool giant bikes of Le Tour jerseys were at the top.

I'm Queen of the Mountains.

More downhill ensued.  Stopped for quick refreshment at the 50km mark.  We both needed some type of refueling.

Downhill and rolling hills continued.  Ahh.  Nice to catch some momentum and actually keep it for once.  Got in a good rhythm despite gusts of wind from time to time.  Ged says I do "really well" on the flat.  Nice to know I don't completely suck at this while cycling thing.

Clouds started hovering over the mountains and I couldn't tell if they held rain or simply indicated the end of another day.  No rain came, luckily.

Passed trhough barren-looking towns.  Ged reckons everyone's at the beach.  Makes the towns look sad and dark without people and especially with the gray light the sky was emitting.  Quite unusual for me to feel this way about places I usually think are bright and cheery. 

One thing I do notice is how fast I seem to lose momentum if there's a slight uphill after miles and miles of flat.  Even if it's a quick bump, my wheels slow and my legs tire and it takes a few minutes afterward to regain that momentum I'd lost.

I know I have to get out of the saddle and attack those quick, sharp ones but doing that takes even more enegy out of me.  My legs feel like bricks when I sit back down again and it's so hard to pedal.  All about building up muscle and gettin' the miles in, I suppose.

Lush fiels and country roads pretty much all the way until Lourdes where we took a fun and flat bike path back to the campsite (La Bergerie).  The path probably used to be old train tracks.  

Chillin' in Lourdes for a bit then maybe a picnic.  Life is good.


1 comment:

  1. Your getting stronger and stronger. Your riding harder and harder. Good for you...