Sprinter turns climber!

I’ve spent most of the past two weeks climbing mountains in France and guess what…I’ve loved it!

I took part in the Grimpee de l’Alpe, a mass start time trial up the (in)famous Alpe d’Huez the day after the Marmotte. Cleverly, unlike most of the others doing the Grimpee, I did *not* do the Marmotte so was going into the TT ‘fresh’! I had set myself the target of doing the Alpe in less than an hour…most told me this was, at the very least, “ambitious”. But I soon learned that I am actually pretty good at this climbing malarkey!

The TT starts from a car park a few hundred meters from the bottom of the Alpe behind a pink and green jeep pumping out awesome EuroPop (Helen and Jo…you’d be in your element!). I’d been warned that the first few bends were the worst of the climb so I tried not to go out too fast but totally failed at this…there were so many people to try get past so I just had to keep going and get into a nice rhythm. I got into a little group of men, one by one some of the guys dropped back. I managed to last until around bend 13, I remember looking down at my garmin and it read something like 25min. I thought, damn that’s fast…you can do the hour…come on! But after that I was on my own until the top with only a handful of men passing me. I just had to keep going…keep on pedalling!!! But damn, it was hard! It just keeps going up! I got to Huez…just 6 bends to go. My time was still good, I knew I could do it!  Bend 1, 50-something minutes, but it’s still so steep…dig deep! And then two last bends to the finish, the gradient came down a little…down the gears and on the drops, I was going as fast as I could, around the little roundabout and through the finish (doing ‘no hands’ obviously!!!). I looked at my Garmin…57min!! I DID IT!!!!! (My official time was 58:27.) And then I looked around and could only see two other girls!! I made the podium!!! Woop!!

I’m not sure I could make my legs that skinny to make the top of the podium! (She did it in 50min…wow!)


One thought on “Sprinter turns climber!

  1. Fantastic ride Lydia!! Just like Peter Sagan, you’ve shown us that you don’t need to be built like a climber (ie. skeletal!) to go up a climb at speed!! Keep up the great riding…

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