Haute Route Day 3 – A very scary day

OK! I got the plan! Cruise down from Courchevael in the pack, hit the Madelaine, and keep it steady at 240W all the way to the top.

Proably should have been a pussy and turned back!

No spikes, no chasing, really, really steady. Eat, drink, eat, drink, bank everything you can, it’s going to be a long day.

Top of the Madelaine, 26km in, seems OK. Stop, drink more water, eat, and fill all bottles. Blast down the backside. Cruise through the valley, hit the Glandon.

 

The road up the Glandon

Plan seems OK. Holy S…. is it ever hot! Head up the Glandon, steady, steady. Why can’t I maintain 240??? Cripes I feel like death warmed over. Mind goes like this. Hot spot in the bottom of left foot is killing me, alter weight distribution, eat, stomach is turning over, can’t face another gel, think I might puke. Clif bar? No saliva. OK drink. Bottles are already half gone. Still 1 hr. until next aid station. Power meter says 210? Push. Out of the saddle. Christ legs hurt. OK spin. What, another person passing me. Jesus, my foot hurts, and over and over and over again. Oh, and I forgot; occasionally look up and think this thing never ends! Then remember Phil and Paul constantly saying in July that the Glandon finishes with a very nasty kick.

 

My nemisis the Galndon from the bottom

Plan seems to be going astray!

 

My nemisis the Glandon looking back

Get to the point where I see the Phil and Paul’s wall and as Trevor Linden is so fond of saying “Tick, Tick, Tick, BOOOM!” The explosion occurs. OK, better make a new plan, last one sucks!!!. Maybe I need to think survival. Still have another 70km to go and another major climb. Crawl to the top of the Glandon, fill bottles, and drink like a camel. What can I keep down? Try the emergency sandwich. Think; no that is not the correct word, imagine I will feel better after I rip the descent. Head down. Very high speeds. Speedo says 80. Think it would be ridiculously easy to make a mistake and die! Whatever. Hit the bottom of the last climb to Alpe d’Huez. Organisers say this is the easy way. GPS says 5%, power meter says 180, maybe 200, stomach says please don’t put another gel in here. Ride all over the road looking for shade, thankfully very few cars. On and on, up and up, please make it end. Accept any offer of water from anyone. Keep thinking the profile says we end with a downhill. Finally get to Huez.

 

The mythical Alpe d”Huez seen from the easy road to the top.

Turn the corner and see the number 5 on the next switchback. Jesus it’s all uphill. Finish arrives, almost in tears. 7 hr. 15 min. of mostly hell. Mind goes into recover mode. Unbelievably thankful that tomorrow is a time trial up Alpe d’Huez. What’s an hour and a half of uphill riding? A recovery ride in this event!