Hot, humid, steep, historical and exhausting.
Pinerolo. Some of you might remember that stage in the 2011 Tour De France where Alberto Contador attacked with Sammy Sanchez over the last climb of the day on stage 17, where Cadel Evans and Thomas Voeckler chased after him. Bosen Hagen won the stage and many riders fell off the side of the road on the descent. Including Voeckler who was one of a few people who went off the corner and dropping into a residents car park.
Well Alex and I got to ride over and descend that road, then turn around and do it in reverse. The climb isn’t that long really, but it isn’t constant or easy to climb it if you had to put time into people.
We started to climb it at a solid tempo pace where the gradient of the climb was around 4%-6%. At multiple points on the climb it has easy 1% gradients. Then right after it kicks up to 10% then up to 13%. About half way to two thirds of the way up. I really got stuck into the climb and into the spirit of that stage.
Trying to push my self hard up the climb, holding a good rhythm and pace. It was not easy at all. When you think you are nearing the top you’re just getting to a short flat section then hit with more climb. This is fine but it’s mentally tough and I couldn’t imagine riding this after doing Sestriere.
Finishing the climb you roll up to an old building that has been abandoned. A little sad to see it so empty. It was a little surprising since there were lots of lovely homes on the earlier section of the climb.
The descent was insane. We saw each spot where the riders came off and the car park corner which caught a lot of riders off guard. I can truly understand why there were so many close calls. The road at times has a gradient of 22% and a minimum of about 14%. The corners are blind and you can’t see how tight they swing around.
After descending down into the village and taking a few pictures of I giant Tour De France rider cut out we made our return journey back up over the hill, a steep one at that. I was glad I was on my mountain bike. I didn’t have to click down out of my 38T chain ring but it was such a tough climb.
We crawled back up the steep road taking some more pictures of the spots where it caught the riders off guard. I sat in my own rhythm has Alex pulled away. But as we grew closer to the top we were riding together.
This would have been far more enjoyable in the 23 degree heat we have been riding/climbing in but it was over 32 degrees that day and so humid that when you looked down at you bike computer a waterfall of sweat would pour out of the helmet and join the already rapidly dripping sweat from your face.
After the cautious descent down the narrow and blind corners of the climb we initially rode up we arrived back at the car. I felt as if I had jumped into a pool and my clothes just stuck to my skin as I was trying to change out of them.
Tomorrow is a rest day where we are going to take a look at Mont Blanc and be a little touristy for the first time of the trip. The next is the week where Liz will be racing in the World Master games in Torino. The Crit on Monday and and the Time Trial on Tuesday.