At the start of the week I got back on the turbo. I was short of time but managed 26.55km (16.5miles) in 30 minutes of hard peddling.
That was only the third time wearing cleats in over a month since I got back from the alps. I really enjoyed it, despite the profuse sweating, so I may have put the ‘cyclist’s block’ behind me.
We had decided to go out to Les Carroz for a few days and I wasn’t taking a bike. I had been planning to take the Giant TCR2 to leave out there but I’ve noticed a noise from the bottom bracket so it seems more sensible to get that fixed here in the UK first.
So, in place of the bike I took running kit to continue with my running training to see if it will be worth applying for a place in the 2019 Rotterdam Marathon. Although the weather was poor, I decided to run and, after a bit of foreplay through the town, I reached the main event, the road up to the Col de Pierre Carrée.
This is the road I used for my ‘everest’ last year – according to the Hell’s 500 club that runs everesting, as I was the first to everest it, it is my road!
Clearly, I was not going to run the whole 11.5km (7+miles) to the top of the col but there is a ski lift into the wider system at Les Molliets. We were out skiing in February 2017 with my younger son who was training for the Brighton marathon taking place in April that year and he and I had run up to Les Molliets one day after skiing.
This time it was cold, very misty with a slight drizzle – horrible for cycling but great for running and I ploughed on at a pretty slow pace.
Question: If you are running up an alp and have passed a kilometer post saying 11km to go, what is better than passing the 10km to go post?
Answer: Reaching the next km post and finding that it says 9km to go, because you have entirely missed the 10km post.
(I saw the 10km marker on the way back down – either I missed it on the way up or had blocked out the memory as it announced the next km to be at an average of 8%).
I carried on pretty comfortably and even caught and passed a chap riding a trike. Last time, my son and I had stopped when we reached the beginning of the ski lift car park but this time I carried on to the ski lift ticket office by the 6km to go marker.
I was very pleased that the run wasn’t stupidly hard on the way up – but the descent was tougher on the quads and, although my running shoes are comfortable and fit well, I was feeling my toes pushed into the front of the shoes.
Altogether, 11.7km (7.3 miles) of running in 1h 19 minutes, with a total climb of 383m (1256 feet). No great climb on a bike but certainly hard enough running. Interestingly, it took me just a minute longer that the 2017 run with my son (he was quicker, of course) – despite being a little longer.
The run up the mountain road itself was a climb of 356m in 5.3km (6.7% average gradient). I had no great pace on the way up, but the descent was relatively quick – I wonder how that happened!
My legs were complaining the following morning but I ran with Mrs O – over 4km (nearly 3 miles) with another 100m (330 feet) of climbing – not too much flat stuff in a ski resort.
To keep up with reports from the Transcontinental Race, the sole remaining rider, Neil Matthews, has reached the fourth and final checkpoint. He has ‘only’ 523km left to the finish in Greece. He has been on the road for five weeks.