Everyone has a favorite ride. One we’ve imagined (the century with the endless tailwind….) or one we’ve actually done (the metaphysical ride that starts in Prosperity, PA.)
Hannah Reynolds, known to you from an earlier blog, sent her favorite ride and then some:
My favourite road route is the Marmotte in France. You start by heading up La Vaujany, over croix de Fer, over the Telegraph, then Galibier and finishing up Alpe d’Huez. It has 5000m of climbing in a bit over 100 miles. They are all classic Tour climbs and in some places you can still see the painting on the road from the Tour de France. Galibier is my favourite climb. It is over 2000m and when you get to the top you are looking down on the snow capped peaks around you. Amazing. It feels really clean and pure at the top – not least because you have had to hurt yourself so much to get there. The descent back to the foot of Alpe d’Huez is pretty phenomenal as well. Descending Galibier is fast and technical – particularly when you are feeling all the climbing you have already done and it’s cold. There is a cafe at the foot of Galibier before you start the descent down the valley toward Alpe d’Huez. I was once so tired and cold when I got to the cafe I didn’t have the strength to unclip my feet. I walked into the cafe in my socks and left my shoes on the bike! After the cafe – great pancakes – the descent goes on for ages with big sweeping bends and some dark tunnels. It must be a good 20 minutes of free wheeling.
My favourite rides would involve big mountains, sunshine, great cafes and good company. Pretty much the same for an off-road excursion with the inclusion of some big rocky descents and a few “Will I? Won’t I?” moments on the technical sections. Fast sweeping bends are the best; on- or off-road they always make me grin.
The rides I remember most are the ones that were really hard. Winter rides where you get home soaking wet and freezing cold, completely blown. One day I went out with the ‘boys’ – all decent riders and even a pro and former pro. I blew so badly I needed to be pushed and cajoled for the last ten miles ’till they abandoned me at a shop with some pocket money for a Coke to get me home. When I got in I crawled into bed in my kit- including shoes!
Ah, well, we can’t all have it as glamorous as our European couterparts, can we?