A Big Day, with Sheep

I have to make this quick because I’ve just realized 44|5 has a week-long tour coming up and there is some work to be done to make sure our clients are picked up at their airports and have something to eat at night.

Shiva The Destroyer (or Anne, as we like to call her) designed a long day for us in the Cévennes yesterday because all three of us were sorely needing it (Anne and Erik are both doing the Cents Cols Challenge this summer). The 10+ hours on the road included an ascent of mighty Mont Aigoual the ‘hard way’, via the Col de la Lusette (my least favorite climb just about anywhere). Somewhere very far from the bottom, yet not too close to the top, you are struck by a long section that makes you wonder if you’ve flatted. It definitely has me looking for an easier gear, no matter what gearing I have.


Doesn’t do it justice. Not even close.

Here are Erik and Anne descending into Pompignan, with our Cévennes in the background.

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I had a good Strava segment climb going until I hit this roadblock on the first ascent.

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On top of Mont Aigoual, the 2nd highest peak in the range and the wettest place in France, ironically (it’s basically on the Mediterranean).

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Our second-to-last-col; the back door up to the Col de l’Asclier. I am prone on the grass. Erik and Anne joined me shortly after and it wasn’t very easy to get up again.

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At the end of our suffering. My Garmin registered 207 km, with nearly 3900 meters of climbing; my biggest ride of the year and one I’m hoping is putting something ‘in the bank’ that I can draw on in late August.

P.S. if you’d like a helmet head like mine, get a POC. Gives you Klingon forehead dents, too.

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Question: Do any of you have experience with this stuff? Anne said a lot of the CCC riders were using them last year.


16 thoughts on “A Big Day, with Sheep

  1. Hi Gerry, congrats on the long ride. My longest ever was the 173km I did with Haute Route. That’s also the day it was, I believe, 0C at the top of the first climb and 40C going through Italy. I used those salt-sticks and also shared many during the HR as I was plagued by dehydration during training and generally ended the day with dried salt crusted on my face. I believe they did help. But strangely what I felt also helped was the ham available at some of the feed stations.

    • Thanks, Luc. I’m going to give them a try. I’ve been cramping the last few big, hard rides and dehydration has always been a problem with me. Ham is awesome, by the way. I felt the same way. Oh, and I remember that day well in HR. I had Rob’s embrocation lotion on my legs and I thought I was going to combust once we hit Italy.

      • Apparently you can get a little dispenser for them too but I used an old vitamin (or Beroca) plastic tube, attached a small thread/string in the cap and top of tube. It was easy to use one handed while riding and didn’t lose the cap. Just make sure to empty the desiccant that is inside the top of the cap. Worked beautifully.

  2. The profile of La Lusette seems like an extreme understatement to me. As for your ‘good Strava segment’, you should note that all Strava segments in the Cévennes include sheep.

  3. Nice ride man… Never messed with salt tabs, though I’ll hammer pickles at supported rides. Tried some new flavored electrolyte water they called “Sword” and it was freaking awesome! Had me off the front, wondering if I was nuts for feeling so good. Look for that in the near future. Also, Nuun’s pretty good, and Hammer Perpetuem is straight up “Go Juice” – I won’t leave home without that stuff.

    Dig the helmet head. Sharp!

  4. coincidentally I heard about these yesterday..I ordered a bottle today..there’s also Saltstick plus with 50mgs. of high grade EPO..got those too.

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