Challenge: Ste Sigolene to Geneva 270km (col du tracol,
Route: to follow
Difficulty: Hard. It all starts roses and it's mostly decent as you head to the vallee du Rhone.
Then starts the long day under heat on the straight flats and you finish on pre Alpine climbs
under 35 degrees beating on your back. A ride that pushes you through a lot of different
We attempted this bad boy 2 years ago but heavy rain and lack of equipment made us stop
and get the train to Geneva.. We were shivering to the bones..
This time round, things were looking bright and warm. I was going to attempt the ride solo
and complete it in one singular day. The plan was to get as far as possible before the sun gets
too hot. 36 degrees celcius predicted.
Bad night sleep through nervousness. 4:45Am wake up. 5:00AM, and I set off in total darkness
through country hamlets and forests... everything is pitch black and I prepare to sprint if any dog
attempts to race me. It did actually happen and I remember cursing the damn creature as he raced me
up a hill..
8AM: a quick breakfast in Serrieres and about 70km into the ride. This was the easy part and I'm only a quarter into the ride. To follow are the long flat straights (130km) which are OK as long as you feel fresh. On y va... after a couple hours I head north and catch a friendly tail wind. Everything is fine, I feel on top of the world but remind myself never to push on the pedals more than I need to. I just try and keep my steady pace and go economy on each breath. Drink, eat wisely.
I'm 220km into the trip with the hardest 50km to go, with right in front of me a 600m climb on hair pin roads. This would not be a problem at the start of the day but my sense of perspective is already distorted after today's effort and heatwave.
2:30PM, I go for it. It's tough and there is no way I'm stopping to take pictures because I just don't care anymore. I reach the top and cycle through an other few valleys before I finally hit the last hill. At the top of that, I see lake Geneva (5:00PM) .. it's all the way down from here to the finishing line.. The only fuel left is adrenaline... phew..
In a weird way, I enjoyed every bit of that trip. There is something nice about pushing yourself, getting an understanding of how you feel and how you'll cope with the physical and psychological pain.
I always think that so much time on a bike is going to solve my questions. It does not. In actual fact, it just makes me think about the simple things in life, ie water, pot holes, and how big our planet is when riding a bike.. and that's why I like it so much...