Thursday, August 18, 2011

ECFR11 - Day 5 – Sting in the tail after a tough opening

Ian and Julie have put up a bunch of pics here

Run 35mins (tour de Briancon with a good dose of climbing)
Bike 185km (2653m elevation gain – Col du Lautaret, Galibier, Frene + some others)
Swim 30min open water

Our run this morning was a tour of the old village of Briancon with me as tour guide not knowing where the hell we were going. It looked ominous as we rounded the first corner and saw a great big hill straight in front of us. Well worth the trip out though with some great views over the town. The number of athletes who are still in line for camp completion is dwindling by the day – we set the daily minimums each day subject to how much time we have but where ever possible we include a swim, bike and run.

An uphill start again today straight out the door for the bike leg. First was the Lautaret which is about 28km long of gentle climbing which joins onto the Galibier for another 9km of significantly more gradient. The Lautaret & Galibier were where Cadel Evens put in his amazing pull to peg back Andy Shleck during this years tour.
Having been up here yesterday we knew what was coming. I was just waiting for someone to attack and sure enough 10km from the top of the Lautaret (19km from the top of the Galibier) Steven went – some would say a sign of strength others a sign of weakness (he finished 3rd at the top so you figure out which). Clas & Zac followed but everyone else just slowed down so I took up the pace making – not hammering, just a nice steady tempo. I kept this going all the way to the top and Molina was the only one the stuck (after Rob P attacked off the front). I didn’t have my A game going on in my head as we approached the bloody difficult last few km and Molina took me on the line. So whilst I did get beat again I do feel like I’m getting fitter as we progress through the camp.

Pic of Molina and I at the top of Galibier

I’ve been somewhat puzzled on this camp about the unzipping of bike jerseys etiquette. Clas and myself seem to be the only one’s that unzip our bike jerseys in the heat. We have two very contrasting physiques – Clas is a ripped, 6 pack Swedish dude and I have a roll of flab hanging over my bike shorts and an Austin Powers rug of hair that I have no shame in getting out. It is so hot that the open chest is a great way of keeping the core body temp down but nobody else seems interested – maybe I’m just suffering more than the others coming out of winter.  

Today was another 12hr day. We started our run at 7am and finished the swim at 7pm. Sure there was some sitting around at breakfast, lunch etc in between times but a very active day (ride time was just under 7hrs). The garmin is saying 51c today – it was absolutely steaming at our lunch stop but obviously not that hot.

One thing that has been great with this camp has been the evening meals. Typical French style with 4-5 courses along with wine and we leave the table stuffed each night. It’s a well know fact that nobody goes home from epic camp lighter than they arrive – you just eat so much food each day to survive, worrying about weight is the least of your concerns.

Tomorrow is our one easy day with the afternoon as optional training. I’m looking forward to some time to grab some presents for the kids and just chilling out a little. The final 2 days will be tough.

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