Warming up for the Alps

We just had the warmest 8th of March ever – the temperature rose to a staggering 16 degrees (Celcius), which would not be bad for an average day in July.

Tomorrow, a new record will be set, as the expected high is around 20 degrees…

Much better compared to last week(end), which not surprisingly left me with a cold. Added to the back issues I had, the sneezing did not help over the past couple of days.

Still, I got on my bike Thursday, when the temperature was well over “normal” also. Because that (short) ride went well, I decided I was getting better and went out for some more yesterday.

However, that trip left me gasping for breath because of the strong, close to zero real feel, wind – I cut short the ride and cowered back home.

Needless tot say I did it again today and it was much better. That makes three (days) in a row and – like last weekend – I enjoyed being outside.

Except yesterday – yesterday sucked, big time. At any rate, you know what I will do tomorrow, also because it looks like the cold has been shaken off…

All in all the last couple of weeks, my shape has been shifting from – what I thought or what felt – good, to bad, to (getting) better.

Not very promising after a winter of hard work on the Tacx, but if I manage to stay out of the hospital, I might just be able to get it to the level I will need in France.

Since I wasn’t able to cycle much, I’ve been warming up for the Alps, working on my Tour de France 2014 stages this June instead.

And I assure you, just looking at it, even the pros would get tired.

The numbers are frightening and I may have to compromise, as the altimeters are adding up to over 25.000. And those are just in the registered climbs, not counting getting there over the often destructive “in between” stretches.

The stage with 4.300+ altimeters in 68 kilometers of Mont Ventoux should be interesting, but besides that, I’ve planned known passes like the Colombière, Joux Plane, Madeleine, Col du Pré, Petit and (possibly) the Grand Saint Bernard, l’Iseran, Télégraphe / Galibier, Croix de Fer / Glandon and La Bonette, the most famous of the mandatory cols from “Le Brevet des 7 Cols d’Ubaye”.

Options include the Cormet d’Arêche, Les Deux Alpes, Sarenne (the other side of the Alpe d’Huez), Super Sauze, Lombarde and the Fauniera, a.k.a. Colle dei Morti – that last one has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What I’ve seen from it, it should make another fantastic climbing experience, with great views – the Pantani monument on the top makes it worth going up there too.

I will be testing myself in the “Hochsauerland” shortly – an area in Germany not unlike the Eifel where you can get up to 800+ meters.

That may look like nothing compared to the French Alps, but experience has taught me that cycling there can be very demanding.

Let’s see how that goes…

Tour de France 2014 – main page.

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