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velotel
03-25-2016, 04:20 AM
A tad over 53 K with 1250 vertical (4100 ft) so not some huge ride but with a little of everything that makes riding a bike so friggin amazing. Kicked in with fast idle mode along the plateau where I live, a little something to warm the legs while my head wrapped itself around the idea of riding. Legs and head needed that, both because of their age and an air temperature that was verging on cold. A wee bit of bowling before rolling helped too.

Around 6 K of up and down and lots of linked weavers got me to the top of the plunge to the valley floor. This is a good one, especially the lower half. Vertical drop 655 meters (2150 ft), distance less than 7 K, upper half curving straights linking wide,
round switchbacks. Then it gets interesting, a full-on Fred Astair downhill, bends flowing into one another, fingers caressing the brake levers dialing back a touch of speed from time to time, lean left, lean right, lean left, back and forth and on and on. This puppy is about rhythm, pure, dancing rhythm. I think it’s pretty fast too but since I never measure my speed, I can’t say. What I do know is that when I dial the rhythm, the speed erupts unbidden. Major fun.

Onto the valley floor, sweep out into the fields, into the sun, and onto part of my Cancellara time trial course, spinning on all but flat, tight farm lanes, sometimes straight, sometimes bendy, pavement rustic but no pot holes. A fast run on the big ring, smallish cogs, hands in the drops, legs pumping for glory, heat pouring out of blue sky, ripping past walnut orchards glowing green. Lots of families and couples with dogs out strolling the lanes. Tires must be making noise on the coarse blacktop because most everyone moves aside before I’m on them. More major fun.

Then the big shift, climbing mode, back up to the plateau 700 or so vertical meters above. For some completely unreasonable – read insane – reason (not sure how a reason can be unreasonable but probably best to leave that for the philosophers) I’ve got it in mind to do the hardest road up, one I haven’t done in years, one I generally make a point of not doing. It’s still March, not even close to form season. So yea, let’s go do this ridiculous climb with its 3-K section averaging (thought of putting averaging in caps but figured that might be a bit too aggressive, overdoing the drama thing, but still…) over 12%. Then there’s the finish. After maybe 5 K of cruiser climbing but with moments of pain, a K and maybe a half at over 10% has to be surmounted to get to the col. A little something to keep the mind occupied.

I’d love to say I crushed the climb, I mean I’m talking left those brutal 3 K whimpering behind in my wake, but I didn’t. Not even close. What I did do was ride the bastard. Didn’t weave back and forth, didn’t ride from pedal stroke to pedal stroke, kept a pace that steadily moved me up, most of the time standing, not out of some desire to amp up the speed, standing was what I had to do to keep advancing, simple as that. But all in all felt good. Kind of like okay, that was hard as hell but damned if I didn’t do it anyway. Come on bike season.

The mid section, the part between the fierce 3 K of unrelenting effort and the final ramp to the col, is, usually, nothing but sweetness. A long romp across a shockingly steep basin under a wall of limestone cliffs up high. It’s a climb all the way across the basin but mostly in a rather soft manner and since the road is a frizzy line the whole way, much of the time the climbing’s almost invisible. Have to admit this time through my legs were feeling every nuance of grade but I wasn’t complaining. Not too much. The road’s too gorgeous to complain. Cold air from the mountain above was flowing down through the basin and riding into it was like getting hit with a stream of freezing water. Well before the col I was back in the snow zone and it was feeling way too much like winter again. I knew that would end at the col.

From the top back to my house is more downing than upping. A road I know intimately. Like I only ride it probably twice a week on average, year-friggin-round. So I know the road. I love to hammer it back from the col to my house. Not this time. I was at least 3, probably 4 teeth off of what I usually turn. In other words I was totally whipped. But smiling anyway.

Driving hard through the last curves before my house and lo and behold, perversity slaps me along side the head big time. Instead of cutting left and dropping down the driveway, I keep going, had to finish up with my traditional ride up the village road to the high point. Just shy of a K long, 70 vertical meters, maybe, a pleasant ride up through three switchbacks, turn around, fly back down. That’s how I wrap up my rides from the house. So I did it, with legs screaming in protest the whole way, on my smallest cog! I never ride that cog on this road. I did Sunday. Felt good anyway. Flew back down, cut back left, accelerated past a couple of old houses, angled right and dove down my driveway then down the walkway into the garden and stopped next to the rain reservoir, the Alps across the valley. And laughed. A fine ride, no, a perfect ride, had everything I love in one compact loop. Come on spring.

A few pics

cdn_bacon
03-25-2016, 05:49 AM
beautiful.

Merci.

Joel
03-25-2016, 06:10 AM
What a lovely day for a ride! That shot overlooking the village is fantastic. Thanks for posting!

tv_vt
03-25-2016, 06:58 AM
Hank,

Thanks for another inspiring beautiful post.

I have your book. Where in the Alps are you? I'd like to be able to check out the area of your rides on my Michelin maps, but can't quite figure out where to start looking to see some of the smaller cols you write about.

Cheers,

Thom

Black Dog
03-25-2016, 07:45 AM
Hank, tell us about a bad ride. Just once, so we can stop choking on our jealousy. :)

choke
03-25-2016, 03:00 PM
Hank, tell us about a bad ride. Just once, so we can stop choking on our jealousy. :)Heh....no kidding.

Thanks for taking us along Hank. Your reports are still my favorite part of the forum.

velotel
03-26-2016, 02:22 AM
Hank,

Thanks for another inspiring beautiful post.

I have your book. Where in the Alps are you? I'd like to be able to check out the area of your rides on my Michelin maps, but can't quite figure out where to start looking to see some of the smaller cols you write about.

Cheers,

Thom
I'm near Grenoble and the vast majority of my rides are in the Isère and Savoie departments. You can go to ridewithgps.com and see maps of lots of my rides. I think my user name is Hank so that should steer you to my rides. You probably need to be a member of the site (free) to do that though. I just use the site for mapping rides. I don't have anything that tracks my rides and that then downloads them to the site.

Hank, tell us about a bad ride. Just once, so we can stop choking on our jealousy. :)
Okay, soon as that happens, which hopefully won't be any too soon.

Heh....no kidding.

Thanks for taking us along Hank. Your reports are still my favorite part of the forum.
Well thanks, a nice complement coming from you, much appreciated

laupsi
03-26-2016, 06:18 AM
like all your ride posts, woderfully worded back by fantastic photos. thanks!

weisan
03-26-2016, 07:19 AM
I don't mind lowering myself hitching to Hank's bike during his ride on one of these....

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4e/de/b3/4edeb319b34d9e5f104658b253dfa850.jpg

or this...

http://www.icebike.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/FEJ7NZ3GLPH1MTV.LARGE_.jpg

54ny77
03-26-2016, 07:21 AM
These posts are the ultimate in vicarious living/cycling.

Thank you for sharing them with us.

And for doing your first book. :beer:

soulspinner
03-26-2016, 09:35 AM
Keep it coming :beer:

Tony T
03-26-2016, 12:11 PM
Very Nice!
All that beauty in only 33 miles :)

Do you have a GPS, I'd love to see the Elevation profile.

cv1966
03-26-2016, 05:30 PM
Always enjoy your posts Velotel. Keep them coming. Thank you!