Monday, 24 August 2015

Haute Route Alps 2 - Ménage a trois of HTFU

Today was a big day. First 2 hours were a thousand meter climb, Col de la Bonnette. In theory that could be a solid day right there. Cold descent. Beauty views. 

Crossed valley floor and did it all over again up the Col du Var. Steep bugger. I peter out above 8%, the power to weight to remaining energy doesn't compute well. Really enjoyed that down, I may regret it one day I suppose, but haven't been passed yet, feel like I'm not stressing myself out, but enjoying the roller coaster. 

Flat valley to next climb I noticed my mistake. My full two bottles were left on the top of Col du Var feed station. Tom Ebbern bailed me out with one of his. 

Col d' Izoard was last. Spent a while at aid, asked them to phone buddies at other one to make sure my bottles made it back. Looked up the Izoard and decided to pace. Weather and incline looked like a beat down waiting to happen. It's a steep one, it's a crusher. We had horizontal driving sheets of rain for last 5k. 5k is not fast at those grades with legs tired like that. I've heard thunder before, but I've never been "in" thunder. It rages that high up, and reverberates and echoes in the mountains. The whole thing lasts like 30 seconds from first rip to fade out and you feel it all. It was epic, like Thor was laying some beat downs. Something I'll never forgot. 

The top was sideways downpour. We huddled under the time finish tent and grabbed a few snacks. I had the magic 3 today - lots of people just had gilets. I had gore gloves, shower cap, and plastic bags under my shoe covers. The downhill was insane. The road was sheets of water, and with the thunder, lightening and rain it was just crazy. We had 25km to the finish. I wasn't in the mood to faff around and let it rip. Let's just say we can add downhill descending in the rain at break neck speeds to my repertoire of useless life skills.  Some guys were walking, some were outriggering, some were going 10kph. I get a rush from it and had a grin going. Live life, taste death. 

I was out for about 7.5 hours in conditions that I'd condense as La Ruta climbing meet cold shit Calgary rain. Whatever suffer score Strava calcs is an absolute under statement.  But I felt high on life. I love that stuff, it's raw, it's guttural, and it's not wasting away at a desk and turning to mush.

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