mountains

Pinerolo

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.

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Sestriere

Friday we went into Turin. Taking the train from Chivasso took us about 30minutes. We found an Apple shop and I could get my phone to function again and so we walked about most of the day in the awful heat taking a look at some places and and taking some pictures. 

 
Once we got back Alex and I hopped onto our bike and did an easy roll for about 45minutes.
 
The day after (Saturday) we drove out to Roure which is a town on the way up to Sestriere. Setting off we held a good pace and we were bracing our selfs for the tunnel that we had to head through expecting it to be grossly hot. Heading through it was a cool and pleasant. About 15km up I rode away from Alex. The heat effecting him a little. I found some pace and rhythm and spun my way up there. Finding some 1 to 2% sections really easy to power along at 33-36kmph. Then the climb went on and on and got a little steeper with some head wind. Keeping my cadence high I surged on and rode to the top passing many road riders.
 
The descent was probably the toughest bit. Struggling to stay over 30kmph with the powerful head wind almost pushing us backwards. On the steepest sections with a lot of effort we could touch 60kmph but nothing faster. I sort of died after mid turn down the descent and I could barely hold onto Alex’s wheel. 
 
We ended up doing 66km in about two and a half hours. Another solid ride. 

Blessed with Nature

The rides I enjoy most are the rides with great company. It’s even better we you get to ride in beautiful places.

This morning I went on a ride with my friend Karl. We road up a washed out, badly eroded fire trail that leads you to the top of Mt. Neebo.

Riding this trail is fairly easy from my point of view and sort of technical as well.

We did a bit of tarmac riding but it was worth it and it was on top of a beautiful mountain. There were plenty of picturesque views.

Whilst riding around Ironbark which is the forest near Samford Karl and I found out selves clearing off a lot of sticks that walked placed over the track. To ‘slow’ us down apparently. A quick boot every now am then and the sticks were gone.

There was one section that we rehabilitated and turned it into a safe drop off or roll over.

I like these obstacles because they can be made challenging yet safe and extremely fun at the same time.

It was a fantastic ride with good company and it started my day of well. Especially finding out that I had made the Australian Team which goes to Estonia this year for the World Mountain Biking Orienteering Championships!

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Brookfield, Reverse Riverloop, Mt. Cootha and Samford range

On Tuesday the 8th I met up with a couple of my mates for a long ride. Meeting ontop of Settlement road we rode over and past Gap Creek Reserve then heading down to Brookfield. We continued along Upper Brookfield Rd until the end and back out to Gold Creek Rd. Rolling through Kenmore we rode towards Indooroopilly and rode the Riverloop course in reverse but diving off towards Mt. Cootha and back out to Settlement Rd and up to the Samford range. I ended up doing 121km.

My mates posing on a 20%+ climb on a side road off Upper Brookfeild Rd. It’s called Haven Rd.

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