Saturday, July 27, 2013

Riding round Bourg d'Oisans

Post tri it was time to take in another ride with fellow triathlete Richard Stapley, this time Col du Glandon / Croix du Fer.  From the Bourg d'Oisans side the approach to both is the same and it is only when you almost get to the top that you have the choice of cresting the mountain ridge at Col du Glandon, or carrying on for a couple more km's to go over the Croix du Fer.

After passing the lake where the Tri swim took place you begin to climb along the left hand side of a valley through the trees.  After emerging into a pretty village La Rivier D'Allemont there is a brief descent before the road kicks up on the right side of the valley before switching back to the left on on upwards until you get up to the lake.  Apparently Europe's biggest dam.

A little descent and then a final run up through the high mountain pasture to the turn off for the Glandon and straight onto the Croix du Fer.  It was a warm and sunny day which made for a perfect ride to enjoy some spectacular views.
Col du Glandon

Col de la Croix de Fer

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Alpe D'Huez Triathlon

This was one of my target races of the year and we had rendezvous'd with family friends who were also competing, for a week camping in Bourg D'Oisans at the foot of the iconic Alpe D'Huez climb.  The race is part of a festival of multi sport with duathlon, half iron distance triathlon and a near Olympic distance triathlon which is what I was doing.

The swim in Lac Du Verney is in the valley - it's water is chilly - which was some relief as temperatures were in the 30's.  I got mashed a bit in the swim start among the 1,000 or so starters.  I couldn't find a rhythm in the chaos and was some way down on my capabilities. 

I took it steady through transition to compose myself and then set about the bike course.  Through the valley the heat warmed me up and like many euro races, drafting was an issue.  Hitting the climb was tough, suddenly everyone is hardly moving and there's a steady but there's stream of riders to pick off.  I stopped briefly at La Garde to fill a water bottle as I was getting through a lot of water both to drink and to cool.

I think I paced it well, a few riders came past but overall I was moving forward.  Biggest shock was the V5 cat man who passed me - that's 60-65 age group. Chapeau!  I didn't catch him on the run. The first few hairpin bends count down quickly but nearer the top it stretches out and the final drag into the resort is tough as you think you should be there.  Still had something left at the top but saved that for the run.  One tough ride.

Steady transition and off on the run - couldn't say I could tell the effect of altitude or just having ridden up hill for an hour - it was just hard work!  I was picking people off but on a rocky off road trail I was getting hamstring cramping and as my leg cramped so I tripped on a rock and hit the deck. The gel I was a carrying exploded everywhere.  Picked myself up and got moving again and carried on but felt I was having to nurse my legs around.  I picked off a few more people and had got inside the top 100 before the finish.

Result : Second in my age category, 96th overall in 2hr, 23min 22 secs (150th in swim, 119th on bike - 116th up the Alp and 61st on the run)