Monday, July 17, 2017

Eat...Sleep...Ride (Repeat). No time to post to the blog

TdF Stage 14 Blagnac to Rodez

Today's stage only gains 500m from start to finish but somehow manages to pack in 2000 meters of climbing along the way. The route was stunning with lots of beautiful countryside.

Here is the Strava data:

Friday, July 7, 2017

Towering Inferno

Today we rode stage 13 of the Tour de Force from St. Girons to Foix.  The day began early with a very early check out and a 90 minute bus ride to St. Girons.  Once there we had a chaotic breakfast and started what was advertised as a nice short day.

This stage is the shortest in the entire tour but don't be fooled.  Despite being only 100km (about the same as a regular Saturday group ride back home) the stage boasted three good climbs.

We got underway about 9:40 with a nice pace line developing on the way to the first climb.  As the day developed it got warmer and warmer so that by the time we reached the base of the first climb, a 5 km climb up Col de Latrape it was already quite hot. Adding insult to injury there were scams of biting horseflies harassing the riders.

After a nice stop at the top of Col de Latrape we had a 5km and then a 10km climb to Col d'Agnes followed by a trilling 4km descent to the lunch stop.  During the climb the temperature topped 100 degrees which was discouraging (though not to the flies!).  I rode much of the climb with another rider named Max from the UK.  It was so hot his head started smoking!

As usual here is the Strava record:

And here is the Relive video:

Ex Duris Gloria

For me, the Tour de Force starts today with a bang.  The Tour de Force is a bicycle ride that mimics the Tour de France route but starts one week ahead of the famous pro race.  Participants in the Tour de Force come from all parts of the globe and all walks of life. The Tour de Force (TdF from now on) is a charity event that raises money for  British trust that helps disadvantaged youth.

My first leg of the TdF is the Tour de France Stage 12: Pau to Peyragudes.  The stage is 214 km long and crosses 5 categorized peaks (the hardest climbs).

Looking fresh before the start

The first 100km of the ride today was reasonably flat with some rolling hills but nothing too hard.  The scenery was fantastic.

And we finished the first half with a nice rest stop.  Then the fun began...

The climb to Col de Mente was tough.  It turns out that I did this same climb in 2015 and Strava kindly reminded me that I was a lot faster then!  After a rest stop we continued up to Port de Bales, an 11km climb with an average grade of 6.5%

As the day warmed up I really began to feel it and I decided that given that I had 11 more days of this sort of riding ahead of me it was best to call it a day.

Here is my Strava profile:

And here is a video of my track

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The day before...

Arrived in Pau on Tuesday but without my luggage or my bike.  Both were eventually found in Paris and sent on to Pau today.  I spent the morning exploring Pau in the clothes I had been wearing since leaving San Francisco on Monday and then went to the airport to retrieve my things.

After arriving at the Tour de Force hotel I unpacked and assembled my bike only to discover that the U.S. TSA had opened my bike bag and rearranged some of the packing causing the left downshift lever to break.  After checking around I found that there were no Campagnolo parts available (we are in France not Italy!) so I glued the parts back together.  Hopefully this will work or I will have to spend the whole day tomorrow in the big ring!

By four o'clock the day's riders started to trickle in and the last rider arrived just before seven.  It was a long, flat, super hot day for the riders today.  Tomorrow's stage is 214.5km (133.25 miles) long and features one HC, 2 cat 1, 2 cat 2, and a cat 4 climb.  Hopefully the weather will be cooler tomorrow.

I met several of the riders tonight. There are abut twenty people just joining the event in Pau. After dinner and our briefing some of today's riders were still getting massages and drying their kits.

Looking forward to an awesome ride tomorrow.

Drying kits after a long day.

End of day Massage.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Beginning of the Tour de Force 2017!

At SFO preparing to fly to Paris and then on to Pau to join the Tour de Force (  This group rides the full Tour de France route one week ahead of the race.  I will be joining the second half; stages 12-21. It is daunting but should be an awesome experience.

As a bit of a data geek I will be uploading the data from my Garmin bike computer every day.  It includes distance, track, speed, elevation (and elevation gain), cadence, power, heart rate and more. I'll also be uploading pictures when I get the chance to take some!

Here is the overall TdF route.

The Tour de Force crew just finished stage 9 and is transferring to Dordogne via van.  Not sorry to be missing that!

Come back here daily for updates on my progress.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Haute Route Pyrenees: Stage 7

Today's ride was the last stage.  It was a bit melancholy.  On the one hand the idea of a day off the bike is pretty appealing right now.  On the other hand I will miss the camaraderie among the riders and the challenge of completing another hard ride.

The route today had three portions: The first 75km to the top of Col d'Ibardin was timed.  Then we descended for about 15km to a long lunch stop near at Saint Jean de Luz and finally the last 25km was 'en convoy' escorted by the moto riders to Anglet for the final 'finish'.

Here is the profile:

Team TwoWheelTours seem to be the only bikes lined up prior to the start!

Will Levy being interviewed as one of the triple crown riders (folks who rode the Dolomites, Alpes, and Pyrenees peroration of the Haute Route.  In fact, Will is one of only three people who have ridden very Haute Route event from the start!

Lining up for the final start of the 2014 Haute Route

A panoramic view of the start

The last selfie from the Haute Route...

Beautiful Basque countryside

The final coffee stop...

A real lunch break with some of the Aussie riders.

We made it to the Atlantic Ocean!

Lots of bikes awaiting the convoy to Anglet

OK, I lied.  One last selfie.

Someone else took this one!

Here is the Strava data:

And finally, here is a diagram of the entire Haute Route Pyrenees: