Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    508
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Descent from the Col du Tourmalet

    Holy crap, how do they do it? Plus there was that guy trying to zip up his jersey while descending at over 50mph. I would be scared stiff...and that's when accidents happen. It looks like a relatively narrow road with no guard rails and a sheer drop off. My wife has been on similar roads and she says the people drive like madmen on those roads. And La Mongie is a ski area so they are driving in snowy conditions, too. Are there a lot of accidents, and how do they do rescue and recovery? Are you pretty much dead if you go off the road? In my wildest dreams, I would like to climb the Col, but there is no way I would want to descend. Do people ever do that? Can you get a "safe" ride back down? Maybe I'd walk.

  2. #2
    Seņor Member kimconyc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    My Bikes
    2011 Hampsten Travelissimo Gran Paradiso Ti | 2007 Bianchi HoC 928 SL | 2001 De Rosa Neo Primato - Batik Del Monte, Genius | 1991 Eddy Merckx - Motorola, TSX
    Posts
    3,563
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Also remember that yesterday was a very hot day and some of the tarmac was melting (slippery). Plus, UK Eurosport referenced Steven Roche (TdF winner in '87) as saying that the road conditions are generally bad, with patches having loose gravel, etc.

    You can get a safe ride back down by applying brakes--at least that's what I'd do . These guys were racing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    450
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I guess so. But the thing is to keep your cool and adjust your body as you go down. Although some parts are very technical, others aren't - they are just a long straight descent.

    The scariest descent I've ever done was at the West Point ITT. Climbing up was tough enough but going down at almost 40mph with cars driving up towards you ....

  4. #4
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    4,314
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    An amateur rider wrote about ending up on a descent at the same time as the riders during the TDF. He was decending at about 45 and was terrified. A few pros then flew by him like he was standing still. The amazing thing he said though was that one of the riders was sitting up and putting a jacket on. No thanks.
    i may have overreacted

  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville
    My Bikes
    Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er
    Posts
    27,098
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
    Holy crap, how do they do it? Plus there was that guy trying to zip up his jersey while descending at over 50mph. I would be scared stiff...and that's when accidents happen. It looks like a relatively narrow road with no guard rails and a sheer drop off. My wife has been on similar roads and she says the people drive like madmen on those roads. And La Mongie is a ski area so they are driving in snowy conditions, too. Are there a lot of accidents, and how do they do rescue and recovery? Are you pretty much dead if you go off the road? In my wildest dreams, I would like to climb the Col, but there is no way I would want to descend. Do people ever do that? Can you get a "safe" ride back down? Maybe I'd walk.

    Try doing it in L'Etape de Tour when you're racing with 9,000 of yourr closest friends.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    julian, ca
    Posts
    598
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have ridden a bunch of the TDF climbs and descents. I understand they are pros and have a lot of guts, but once I get over 35 MPH I start soiling my pants! I start thinking of blowing tires, or missing a turn and the resulting pain and road rash. More than climbing or suffering, I respect these riders the most for how fast they can go downhill.

  7. #7
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    an imposter living in the 35223
    Posts
    5,621
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We have some nice 50mph descents in the hills around here - long sweeping turns, sometimes ending in hairpin ones so you can get on the brakes before the next climb. Descending is the only time I feel like a pro rider.

    I certainly don't feel like one climbing back up
    72 special CNC ___________ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) __73 Holdsworth Record
    78 Raleigh Professional_____ 80 Ranson_____________ 80 unknown French (SS)
    82 Peugeot PXN10_________83 Trek 620 (nee 600)____ 85 Gianni Motta
    85 Trek 560______________88 Guerciotti GLX
    90 Miele Gara_____________02 Casati Dardo (g/blue)__02 Casati Dardo (y/blk)
    03 Casati Dardo___________08 BF IRO (fixed)________10 Vassago Fisticuff (IGH)

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    508
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by julian View Post
    I have ridden a bunch of the TDF climbs and descents. I understand they are pros and have a lot of guts, but once I get over 35 MPH I start soiling my pants! I start thinking of blowing tires, or missing a turn and the resulting pain and road rash. More than climbing or suffering, I respect these riders the most for how fast they can go downhill.
    So what's it like? To me, honestly, it doesn't look do-able? Hairpin turns, sheer drop offs. I'd be on my brakes so bad. I wouldn't even want to drive on those roads.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    julian, ca
    Posts
    598
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
    So what's it like? To me, honestly, it doesn't look do-able? Hairpin turns, sheer drop offs. I'd be on my brakes so bad. I wouldn't even want to drive on those roads.
    Driving the roads are a hoot. They are scary at speed on a bike but I think a lot of the shots from the TDF are from the air so that perspective makes it look scarier.
    I saw people of all abilities riding those roads including a couple climbing Mt. Ventoux on folders with 20 inch wheels, baskets and flat shoes! They took their time but the made it.

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville
    My Bikes
    Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er
    Posts
    27,098
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've gone down the Col De Aubsique (where Wim Van Est crashed out of the Tour) which is pretty comparable to the Tormalet, as well as otherr HC climbs such the Galibier, Ventoux, and the Izoard.

    Down the Izoard, I was chasing an Italian amateur racer. We were above 80kph. I don't think I would gone quite that fast if I didn't have his line to follow.

    The year I did L'etape, I was careful coming down the Aubisque given the Van Est history, and the dramatic dropoff in places. My approach was to be conservative in turns I couldn't see the exit, and bomb it as long as I could see the exit of the turn. I also tended to favor the uphill side of the road.

    The competitive drive also kicks in. So I went faster than I really wanted to in order to start rolling up other riders, and assemble a group to work with on the flats after the descent.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville
    My Bikes
    Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er
    Posts
    27,098
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Also the grades on the big HC climbs are not that steep. Usually in the 8% range and rarely above 11%.

    There are many steeper, faster descents in the Eastern US, as well as in europe. (some of the lower category climbs are steeper, but shorter)

    One difference however, in the US we tend to have better guard rails, and at least in the East, fewer sheer dropoffs.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •