Wednesday 25 September 2013

The Haute Route Diaries Part 6: How to ruin a rest day

After four stages, the fourth one being a monster, it was definitely time for some recovery. This started on the evening after stage four with pizza, beer and ice cream, and the next morning even allowed a lie in. This was because stage 5 was as close to a rest day as the Haute Route got - a mountain time trial up a HC climb: Hautacam.

I'd like to show you the stage profile using the official graphic, but they seem to have disappeared from the Haute Route site - so instead you get to see the full glory of my Garmin trace.

It goes up.
That's about 16km long with around 1000m of ascent.

There are a couple of ways to treat this - if you are racing the event, or interested in how fast you can ride up a mountain, you can go what commonly known as "full gas". If you want to recover a little from the previous night's pizza, beer and ice cream you can go "economy gas". Guess which I did?

Economy gas was still hard work though - on the very odd occasion I overtook other riders and they spoke to me my response was a mixture of panting, whimpering and dribbling. Imagine an overheating St Bernard. That was me.

At the top I stayed to watch people come in who'd put far more effort into it - there was the odd vomit on the line, some mild collapsing but thankfully no need for medical attention. It was warm and sunny and the view was stunning.

Check out the disco slippers
It was even pretty good without my legs.

Eventually I ran out of excuses for sitting in the sun and had to ride back down the mountain with Darren, just as the leaders were coming up. We waved to the people we knew - for some reason they failed to wave back through their tears of pain - and were soon back at the event village. We ate, we did some light shopping and ambled back to the holiday camp. The original plan was to make use of their pool and waterslides but somehow even that seemed like too much trouble. Sun bathing and sleeping were just about all we could manage to do.

So, five days of riding in glorious sunshine... and two stages left.

What could possibly go wrong?

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