Wednesday, 30 June 2010

An appointment with the Col du Portet d'Aspet

Ouch! Just let me get that out of the way first.

So, the nitty gritty. Well, it all started out well enough. The profile for the first 12kms is nothing to cry about and was actually quite good fun to ride.However as you can see, it did kick off somewhat in the last couple of kilometers after the village of Portet d'Aspet. But, not a problem. With a bit of huffing and puffing and more unladylike perspiring, the col was reached and who should we see there but the Kevster who was acting as support for a group of Saddle Skedaddle riders who were doing the Trans-Pyrenees route. Naturally, seeing Kev gave me an opportunity to dawdle, chat, waste a bit of time before tackling the question of, well, what should we do now. We had only covered just over 18kms and simply turning around and tearing back down to Audressein seemed a bit of a waste of a day out. But I didn't think my legs could handle the descent down to Aspet and then the full 14km+ climb back up. Kev suggested we cycled 4kms further on down the hill to the memorial to Fabio Casartelli who was an Italian cyclist and an Olympic gold medalist, who died in a crash on the descent of the Col during the 1995 Tour de France. From there, we just had the 4km climb back up to handle. Note the word 'just'. This baby is no pushover.It turned out that the ascent over the 4kms was 369m which made for an average gradient of 9.2%.That was the average. Andy's Garmin Edge actually showed several short sections of up to 20% - no wonder my wheels didn't seem to want to go round! But some credit please, I didn't stop, although I do admit that the temptation was strong. I was fuelling well with my SIS liquid fuel and had had a gel before we set off on the descent from the Col which helped to keep me going. We made it back up in 36 minutes. Then, a fun, fast descent back to Audressein. Total distance covered was only just over 41kms but over 1000m of ascent. 2244 calories burnt = cake time. Full stats on the usual site. I may just make that cherry clafoutis this evening - I have earnt it!

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