Thursday, 28 June 2007

my 1st mountain

On the road to the Cul du pas de peyrol: from Salers to Murat.

the day started well, woke up to blue sky. the first time in six days. As the distance to Murat was only 42km's i had a late start and was on the road at about 9am. Usually i like to take it easy for the first 20 or 30 minutes however as i turned left out of the campsite the road was uphill straight away.

Still it was fun, the gradient wasn't to hard and i manged to get up to the 1st little pass in 4/5 gear.When i say "little pass" it was still 1241m above sea level! I remember thinking to myself that it wasn't that hard. Following the summit it was a gentle descent amongst the trees and little waterfalls. This lasted for about 3-4km's.

Then i came across the informed me from the here the pass was 481m in vertical height, the road was 5km's to the summit and that the average gradient was 9.62%. thinks....this won't be as hard as i thought...DOH!!!!!!

The 1st 3km's were easy, in third gear with a nice high pedal action. Even got me smiling. Then, i came across the last two kilometres...
I was approaching a corner, the exit hidden by the trees and i thought to myself "f**k, that looks a bit steep" and you know what....i was right! By now i was sadly in 1st gear and was i struggling. The ascent has been used in the tour de France ( the last time in 2004 when Mr Armstrong powered up it) and most recently in the "race for the sun" a few weeks ago. As i tried to carry on peddling i came across the following words written on the tarmac. " 2kms to the pass...gradient 16%".

It took me about 45minutes to cover the last 2km. I could just about turn the pedals and every 100m's or so i would have to stop and give my legs a rest. It was basically a switchback...1km, sharp turn, 1km to the top. Finally i reached the top of the pass. Even before i could get off the trike about a dozen people surrounded me, some of them even started clapping. Guess they must have passed me on the road in their cars! After about 5 minutes a couple of cyclists came over to have a look. They looked at me...looked at the trike...asked me in which direction i had come and then when i told them looked at me in disbelief!

I spent about half an hour on the summit, then started the descent. Lets just say that even though i wasn't doing a fast descent i must of hit out 45mph! At this point i would like to point out how glad i am that i spent an extra 200 quid on the big disc brake option.

The next day i cycled 24Km's to St. Flour where I'll be spending the weekend!

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