Posts Tagged :

Tour de Force

596 1024 Gerard O'Connor

Nantua to Chambery 188km …The toughest day so far ??

Is this the toughest stage of the tour ??

Three of the most feared climbs of the whole tour were in today’s stage.

Col de la Biche, Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat all uncatergatised climbs due to their severity. Climbs are rated 1 to 4 depending on their difficulty all three of these climbs  are uncategorised as they are considered so difficult.

In order Col de la Biche rides for 20km at an average gradient of 7%, nice to get the legs warmed up first thing ?,

Gran Colombier is a monster… a brute of a climb, 10km at average of 10%, it rises to a wall of 20% for a kilometre in the middle , the steepest mountain so far of the tour.

Mont du Chat is just their to finish you off !!

Another 10km of climbing at an average of 11% at the end of a gruelling day.

I felt the biggest sense of achievement so far as I rolled in some 9 hours after starting. The hardest day so far after the worst day ever of riding, 2 differing back to back days.

The day had more casualties with injuries to a number of riders and some simply finding the climbs to much and calling it a day or early or taking a easier route to avoid the monster! not a bad idea for some guys considering there are still another 12 days of riding …Geez !!

The weather was kinder today and some of the views were spectacular from the very top of the  mountains.

On a technical note my front carbon wheel  delaminated (buckled) on a descent which had I continued on it could of had pretty serious consequences.. A quick change of wheel by the mechanics got me back in the saddle and a lot safer !

Hotel was great and riders were in good spirits as tomorrow is a rest day.!! Never have I looked forward to a 6 hour transfer on a bus so much ?

576 1024 Gerard O'Connor

Vesoul to Troyes 225km

What a day … the longest ride I’ve ever completed in probably the toughest conditions. Crosswinds , headwinds and torrential rain throughout made the ride hugely difficult even though there was only a peppering of climbs.

We spent 9 hours cycling through what has to be said was some very bland countryside until we entered the Champagne region, an area full of vineyards, thoughnot much enthusiasm to stop and admire the views due to the heavy rain.

A lot of riders (including me) in the group were starting to feel tired, with over 1000 km of riding already… the good news …. there is none !! Tomorrow same distance, into more headwinds so a ride of attrition appears to be on the cards.

All that said,the banter and chat in the groups is always good…and riders always willing to help other riders struggling.

Nit many highlights today, Charles de Gaulles cemetery ..?? Kind of sums up the day really.

576 1024 Gerard O'Connor

Verviers to Longwy 217km

The 3rd stage took us through 3 countries. We strayed in Belgium ??, travelled from North to South through beautiful Luxembourg and ended up in a French town Longwy.

Toughest and longest day so far, saw much smaller groups forming as the climbs had a big impact on the largest groups sticking together.

Luxembourg was certainly a highlight the roads were perfect to cycle on and villages and countryside and views were amazing, it almost took the pain of the hills away … well almost.

A lot of tired legs today in very hot conditions, sadly the weather is due to turn very wet tomorrow for another 200km plus ride

768 1024 Gerard O'Connor

Arrived in Düsseldorf

Arrived in Düsseldorf, beautiful city. Have taken in the atmosphere and sampled the city’s culture.

The city is all set up for the start of next weeks TDF commencing although our start is tomorrow with a 14km time trial.

Met a number of other riders who all look lean, mean and professional… obviously everybody quietly sizing each other up even though it’s a challenge.

The months of training, hard work and sacrifices are over, nothing else can be done but wait until tomorrow.

Nerves and trepidation as well as excitement…

the time has arrived ????