After two lackluster days on the road I felt like ‘givin er’ and luckily we only had a 12 km time trial to blast through before massage time. Of course, this being Haute Route, these 12 km came with an average of 9%, finishing at an elevation of 2413 meters (col du Granon). Givin’ er meant fighting a lot of heavy gravity.
Time trials in Haute Route take the same form as you’re used to seeing on TV, i.e. the slowest go first and the quickest (or best ranked, I should say) go last. Riders leave in 20 second intervals, meaning that you either focus on the ‘slower’ ones ahead and try to hunt them down, or the ‘faster’ ones behind who are breathing down your neck. Either way it’s a little stressful, so I just looked at my stem, opened my mouth wide, and started gasping for air.
I was passed by only one rider on the way up and I got past a few. I put everything I had into this one-hour effort and nearly collapsed at the top. I was sure I’d taken a few spots back on the day, but, as is often the case, everyone else seemed to be pulling hard, too, and I finished in 168th, a spot I was now identifying as my natural place in the world.
Still, the view was nice.
Till I turned the camera around, that is. I’m not making a kissy face, by the way. Just trying to express the discomfort I was feeling at the time. I don’t think it translated that well, but you can be the judge.
On the way down a few of us stopped to watch the big boys come up, with eternal winner Peter Pouly pulling up the rear. He finished 20 minutes faster than me. Seems the gravity wasn’t quite as heavy for him.