There is a big blob of land south of Nimes called the Camargue that is flat as a crepe (it’s the delta of the Rhone River) and I almost never ride there. Whenever I do, though, I think I should do it more. Not because it’s flat but because it’s pretty. But that’s not what I want to talk about.
I never do flat rides. I never ride on straight roads. It’s just the way my part of France is.
Well, yesterday I decided to do something different and ended up on the D135 south of the city and did as flat a ride as could manage (around 100 m of ‘climbing’). What I want to say about all this is that flat riding is hard; you have to pedal ALL THE TIME. My ass hurt, too, and it was only a 2 hour outing.
My rides are always ‘struggle up’ then ‘chill down’, giving me the chance to get off the saddle, freewheel and enjoy the scenery. On the ride yesterday I had to go hard ALL THE TIME because going easy was boring and it hurt more somehow. I also tended to want to get aero and even considered resting my elbows on the bars; something I’d never think to do on a normal ride.
I now understand why Classics riders are always called ‘hard men’. You have to be physically and mentally (especially mentally) strong to ride in these conditions. And there are people out there who do nearly all their rides on roads like these. You have my respect, sirs and madams.