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Old 07-10-05, 03:28 PM   #1
bing181
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My first Cat 1 climb (TDF)

Joined the throng and road up the Ballon D'Alsace before the TDF stage today. OK, not Ventoux or any of the real monsters, but still a cat 1 climb. 50 minutes of serious ouch.

Unbelievable scene. Even at 10 in the morning the roadside was packed, so a massive buzz the whole way. Will try it again someday without the cries of "allez allez" and see if I do any better .. Meanwhile, need to do a bit more work!

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Old 07-10-05, 03:54 PM   #2
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I came back from riding the usual Sunday circuit and mowed (yawn) the lawn. And you're following the Tour in person, no doubt dining across the table from Bob Roll and sharing his crab bisque! EnvyEnvyEnvyEnvy.............
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Old 07-10-05, 04:14 PM   #3
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What is the distance, altitude, and/or grade?
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Old 07-10-05, 04:17 PM   #4
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Well I rode today but it sure was not in France so color me green with envy.
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Old 07-11-05, 02:30 AM   #5
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Ballon D'Alsace from the North side is 9.1 km at 6.8% average. Must just scrape into Cat 1 ...

I live in Brussels, and a friend dragged me along to follow a few stages. Threw the bike in the car "just in case", but the bike proved a godsend as it can be the only way to get into the roads/starts/finishes unless you like long walks.

Actually mowing the lawn and following the tour on the net or TV isn't a bad idea, you get a lot more info. It's very hard to get close to the riders at the start/finish, and then on the road they go past in a flash. Spent a very pleasant morning on Friday sitting in a cafe terrace in Germany with coffees and cake as the whole spectacle raced past, but the other days it was pretty miserable with the rain and all.

I'd definitely do the mountain stage thing again, though it's a whole day .. and then some. It took me longer to get down and off the top than it did to ride up. At the beginning of the day, to even get onto the climb I had to park the car about 10 km away (which was where the traffic slowed to a halt).

But .. a big buzz.
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Old 07-11-05, 03:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bing181
Ballon D'Alsace from the North side is 9.1 km at 6.8% average. Must just scrape into Cat 1 ...

I
Actually mowing the lawn and following the tour on the net or TV isn't a bad idea, you get a lot more info. It's very hard to get close to the riders at the start/finish, and then on the road they go past in a flash. Spent a very pleasant morning on Friday sitting in a cafe terrace in Germany with coffees and cake as the whole spectacle raced past, but the other days it was pretty miserable with the rain and all.

I'd definitely do the mountain stage thing again, though it's a whole day .. and then some. It took me longer to get down and off the top than it did to ride up. At the beginning of the day, to even get onto the climb I had to park the car about 10 km away (which was where the traffic slowed to a halt).

But .. a big buzz.
Those long steep hills are possible for any accomplished cyclist but not many of us can take them at a pace that can be termed " respectable" I don't do many long hills but the steep part is the one thing we do have in our neck of the woods. They are still hard, so anyone that can do a Cat 1 climb at any speed has my admiration.

A few years ago the Tour De France came to the UK. and I along with several of my friends cycled out from Home to watch it go past on one of the local roads- only about 20 miles, but early start to get a good spot- right at the road edge on a corner on an uphill gradient. Got there before any others and staked our spot- Then the fun started with moving on the latecomers who jumped in front of us blocking our view (We had picked the prime spot) the PRE-Tour came past and it built up to a Climax, and they were gone. 6 hours at the side of the road, for 30 seconds of the riders. Give me the tele any time, but set up in the garden so I am at least out in the open air.

Incidentally, most people had cycled to this spot, and after the tour had passed there were thousands of cyclists blocking the roads, all trying to get home. One of my neighbours had taken his car to this spot, and he said that he could not move the car for 3 hours, due to the cyclists. We were enthused by the tour, and were home within the hour of starting.
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