Le But

Warning: you are about to read (or not) another Haute Route article. Why? because in the last few days I have started to mentally gravitate towards the fact that the HR is, well, a fact. It hit me today that I work much better if I have a clear idea of what I’m working towards, and that I should probably make myself an objective for this race (‘finishing’ is so 2011…). Therefore, I spent the last hour working on my but (goal, in French).

I remember from my manager days in Tokyo that my buts should be SMART. Although I don’t remember what each letter stands for I am pretty sure the first one is ‘Specific’. Well, if it’s not ‘finishing’ then I need a number, right? Right. So here’s what I did.

I found the Haute Route results from this year and copied names of riders, starting near the top…just in case, and pasted them into the Etape du Tour Act One results search from the month before. Amazingly, I got a bunch of hits, i.e. there were many riders who did both races this year. This isn’t surprising, I think, since the Etape would be perfect training for the HR. Anyway, I went down the list till I hit a few riders from the Etape who had similar rankings as mine and came up with what I think could be called a semi-scientific idea of what my imaginary ranking would have been in this year’s Haute Route:

180th place and 8 hours down on the 1st place finisher (Peter Pouly – 8th in the Etape incidentally).

So, now that I had a place to start, I factored in the following to finalize my but:

  1. I bonked badly on that Etape, so the ‘real’ me would have done better.
  2. I should be stronger next year…theoretically.
  3. This race is breaking the bank. I need some results.

Then I looked at time, instead of ranking, and randomly figured that I should be able to take 2 hours over 7 days off the above imaginary time that never happened. That’s a mere 17 minutes a stage.

This brought me down to 111th place and 6 hours down on the winner.

But of course, if you’re going to set your goal for 111th place you might as well just knock off 11 more and make it an even 100. But then, if it’s 100 I suppose the obvious thing would be to bring it down to double digits, since it looks so much faster.

Therefore, let the interwebs know, my but for next year’s Haute Route is 99th place (or lower, hrumph..)! 


17 thoughts on “Le But

  1. When I first read this title, I thought it would be about the muscle that would be most sore after 7 days in the Alps.

    This is inspiring. As long as I keep on Gerry’s wheel and sprint to Nice, I can crack the top 100!

  2. Specific
    Time (achieved by).
    I think that’s the way it goes.

    The problem with your conclusion is that ranking is out of your control insofar as you have no idea what the field will be like. What you can aim for are your own performance goals, ie averaging 30km per stage. This is what you can work on incrementally in training, which is where you need goals to work with each week to give you that speed in the HR. I love the 99 notion who knows if you focus primarily on personal best performances (motivated by those ahead of you) you might even surprise yourself and do even better.

    • You’re absolutely right, James. This is especially true with an event like the HR, because its new and there is no way to know if it is attracting a more, or less, competitive field each year. For my goals up to now I’ve been shooting for a % ranking, usually within my age group, which has worked out well.

      The trouble with using average speed as a potential goal is that each stage is different , even if they have certain similarities (eg they are all in the mountains). I think the variables make this kind of objective complicated.

      • Dont forget to factor in the peak form of your life, if you get your training right and hit it right on time and the event itself which can pull a great result out of you

      • precisely….so your most important goals will relate to your ability to sustain speed on the climbs. So I’d imagine you’d be wanting to replicate as many of the actual climbs as you can while building up consecutive days at the required intensity. Obviously this is where you’ll gain or lose most time. (incidentally, I’m just thinking this through out loud :))

  3. Gerry, Remember the triple i’m scheduling at Ventous in July with or without tent. Perfect training
    since you can leave me in your dust and make yourself look real good.

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