Monday, July 7, 2008

Le Tourmalet

So did I give up? I prefer to think that I postponed the challenges to better enjoy them. After all, competition was never the top of my priorities.

Yesterday I rode down to Luz Saint-Saveur to climb back up to the top of the Tourmalet. All they say about European mountains is true. I don't think I'll be able to ride again in Southern California without thinking what a pitiful comparison our local climbs are to all this. The green, the raging streams in the middle of summer, even the occasional sheep in the road contributed to the tough, spectacular climb up to the 2115 summit. After the descent it took me about 20 minutes to find the right rhythm, which I kept almost to the top, happily passing quite a few locals in the process. Every kilometer a sign announced the distance to the sommet and the average grade. On this side of the Tourmalet the climb is quite constant and easy, usually around 7%, with a few kilometers at 8-9% and a glorious last kilometer at 10%. It took me about 1:40 minutes to realize I was at the top and still ready for more. Too bad it was lunch time and I had to ride back.

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