Cycle training

Col du Chat

Col du Chat

Last weekend saw six of us climb just over 5000m including the infamous Col du Chat, renowned for a cheeky 10.1% over 10km. A good workout for the twice around Lake Geneva and the etape on the tour du France.

Aiming for 490km of cycling before tacking the 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation has similarities. For a start, Friday afternoon saw us all get soaking wet, cold, hungry and a tad dejected. With the banter that followed the unpleasantness was soon forgotten. And the camaraderie is most definitely something that I’m looking forward to on the boat, not to mention the micky taking and good sense of humour amongst the crew. Keeping someone going when they’re having a bad day or things aren’t just going quite right – like the four punctures and broken derailleur, a mechanical nightmare for hubbie!

Col du Chat

Col du Chat

As I ride up some tough inclines I’m reminded of our training skipper’s comments about sportsmen and women. He said that even when you do extreme sport, like an ironman, it’s your choice when to back off, when to speed up; you’re fundamentally in control. The difference with the circumnavigation is that Mother Nature isn’t so forgiving. You may well be at the end of your endurance and yet still be asked for more.

So when I’m going up these hills and in the middle of a training session feeling like I’ll just back off a bit – I say to myself, “come on girl, if you were on the boat you couldn’t get off – keep going”. Not to mention having a bizarre array of tunes playing in my head – Queen’s “I want to ride my bicycle” to “don’t stop never give up” and for some incredibly sad and nutty reason, “reach for the skies”. What’s all that about. Queen I can cope with but as for the rest, certainly not my usual taste in music J

On our last day before we climbed the cats teeth (les dents du chat) Mr Salty Pigeon aka Head of Geography and you’d think by default a good navigator; took us, on racing bikes, up a steep; rocky and grassy detour “to avoid the main road”. Not being in the right gear to start with; coupled with an intense dislike of gravel, big stones and trying to ride over them, the words that just seemed to spout from my mouth were, shall I say, rather less than lady-like. Now this is something that I shall have to actively concentrate on avoiding when I’m on the boat. If it all goes pear shaped, the words, “oh goodness me” shall be the worst you will hear!!

After ride resuscitation

After ride resuscitation

I’m not so sure that Thay will believe that, sorry, I’m sure your ears will recover soon…

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