Wednesday, 19 June 2013


COLS CLIMBED: Mt Du Chat at 1504 metres


Distance: 105 km's
Average: 18.9 km/h
Climbing: 2363 metres
Riding time: 5hr 35min
Temp Min: 14 degrees
Temp Max: 33 degrees
Messages Zane received from well wishers after reading about his crash: 7

Exhaustion on day three hits the group
The first thing you need to do prior to reading this blog is to go back to the stats of the day. Now look closely at the second stat that reads 'average speed'. There was nothing average about today's short stage of just 105km's! Let me share with you my utter exhaustion on returning from our shortest day of the tour. On arriving back to our Chateau at 3:30 I managed to stay awake long enough to shower and by 4:00 I was fast asleep. All I remember is at 3:55 Garath comes into my room and asks if I would not mind massaging Zane's neck, not sure why, but apparently Zane was a tad sore from sleeping with a pillow he is not familiar with. That or a certain crash he went through yesterday, nahhh it must be the pillow... Anyway I said, "no worries mate, send him in." Next thing I know it is 7pm and I awoke not knowing where I was, who I was, or if I was male or female? I quickly ascertained that I was indeed male but the other two took a little longer to work out. I felt bad about letting Zane down, but when I stumbled down the stairs in my dreamy state and found the lads enjoying a few ales, I was immediately cheered at the news I was not alone as all confessed to a bit of a catnap.

Warning, Warning, Warning, read as if your life depends on it!
Now let this be a warning to Smiddy tour number two; all you Smiddy riders back in Sydney and Brisbane, going about your day to day life as your departure date from Australia to France quickly approaches. You need to adhere to these top five Sharky-life-saving-French Alps-survivor tips, or I would suggest bringing a good supply of body bags!

1. You need to bring someone else's strong climbing legs.
2. You need to find the doctor that supplied Lance Armstrong with his vitamin C all those years.
3. You need to not only put on compact cranks but go the triple chainring.
4. You need to get your will in order.
5. And most importantly you need to, and I stress -you 'absolutely' need to- go blind and deaf if anyone ever suggests that you do a climb here that has any of these four letters in it; C or a H or a an A or a T.

Yea shall by known as 'The Nothing'
I can't even bring myself to say the name anymore in this blog, so please see the main heading if you need to be reminded. Should I ever mention it again it will, for the duration of this blog, and possibly forever until time exists no more, be referred to as 'The Nothing'. Not since a climb I did with the Midi Smiddy riders, where we climbed a monster I called 'The Upper', have I hated and feared a climbed so much. By giving the climb this name is my way of dealing with writing about an extremely stressful occurrence...

Well thanks to that little kip I had this afternoon I am so far behind my normal schedule it is not funny. Still I need to pack as we have an overnight stay at Alp De Huez tomorrow night. This blog must be done and Graeme just came in and asked if we could leave at 6am to send the blog as he would like the group to get away by 7:30 tomorrow morning.

So without further ado I am reverting to my old faithful top nine whatever list, that I can come up with in the next 60 minutes.

1. Besides 'The Nothing', today's incredibly scenic route is testament to the hard work Graeme has put into specifically designing loop courses. The views of the snow fed lakes, the quaint French villages, the meandering route through valleys and fields and roads lined with the ever present and fast growing Poplar trees. The sun-kissed fields first thing in the morning are a delight to behold, heck even the fat cows look smug that they have the best eating conditions in the world. If not for the burning in my legs and my ragged breathing I would suggest that todays opening 38km section was as close to utopia as you'll get!

2. As promised I can't mention that name but today we began a climb that tricked us all into believing we were on 'The Nothing'. It topped out at 640 metres and we all celebrated like there was no tomorrow that our tough day just got easier.

3. The descent down into the lakes region of Bordeaux was sensational. One moment we are in a narrow shelf of rock and around a corner appears this view that would bring on a premature delivery of a pregnant women. Hope that sums up the beauty of it as I don't have the writing skills to elaborate further.

4. Stopping at the bottom of the lake for photos and Garath and I were high-fiving our easy day and the awesome views.

5. Two kilometres later we turn from the lake and start to head up and then up some more and up some more. Graeme rides past and said, rather casually, as if it was the easiest thing in the world; "okay Sharky just -and he emphasized the word 'just' with a sweetness to his voice and a suggestion that what lay ahead I could do in my sleep; just 14 kilometres to go."

6. We were now on the true and proper climb 'The Nothing'. A brutal climb that for the entire length of it's 14km's never dipped below 10% gradient, not even the switchbacks. Every corner, every long straight, every sighting of the road ahead showed the same deadpan gradient.

7. I could go on all night about suffering, about heartache, about crying like a baby, about wanting my mummy, about hating my legs, my pathetic lungs crying out for co/2, about getting angry at myself as I was going so slow, about the bloody damn flies, but it is late, I am tired and really who wants to hear me rattle on about stuff like that!
I will say this though; at the top of 'The Nothing' there was one shop. It sold food and most importantly COKE. I love you Coke. Will you marry me? I promise to devour you each and every time I do these ridiculous climbs. I promise to never play up on you by drinking Fanta. And til death does us apart I will continue to respect and pay homage to you. That was pretty much how I was feeling when I got to the top and saw Garath and Glen hooking into their third coke and frites.

8. The descent is why you do it, well it is for me anyway. I hate climbing, but for the sake of earning the right to do a descent, and do it fast, I will endure being tortured for as long as it takes. Getting down the sucker was always going to be an incredible high for each and everyone of us. Except for poor old Zane. Sure he got down it, the repairs to the bike held strong, and while he smiled each time that we did a regrouping, it was more a smile of relief. Under the circumstances the big man is doing awesome and we are all so proud of him.

9.The final one goes to Antonia and Glen, who on finishing today's stage, while everyone else slept, this pair got back on their bikes, descending the 10 kilometres into town to have a coffee and use the wifi. Remember we are situated at 420 metres and while it was fun to go down to the town they then had to ride back up. Unbelievable!

That's me done, now 11:15pm and I have something special planned for my blog tomorrow so stay tuned!


No comments:

Post a Comment