Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stage 14 Limoux to Foix... crazy 3.5km section!

Team, yesterday we rode the last half of Stage 14 (July 15th stage). We went over the Port de Lers, which is hard, then descended into Massat and started going up the next climb. I thought it would be fun for everyone to get a sense of two very different 'Cat1' climbs.

The Port de Lers is 11.5km and is a typical tough climb. Very similar to Apex (8-10%) in several sections with some Anarchist (6 - 7%) thrown in which allowed us to catch our breath. It is what you would think of as a brutal climb and one that would hurt intensely to race.

We then started the climb out of Massat. On the Stage profile, it says the next climb is 9.3km at an average of 7.9%. That isn't the whole story. It is interesting that cyclists like us watching from Canada read that, and think, 'That is a tough, but doable climb'. But here is the real story:

The climb out of Massat is extremely tame for just over 6km, probably between 3 - 5%. Nothing steep in there at all. The riders will then veer left off the main road and onto a road as wide as the pathways in Fishcreek Park. They can be skinny road because the grade is 18% ?!?!  Yes, that is not a typo ?!?!  Our entire group hit it like a bird hitting a window. I have a 39/25 gear ratio here and was standing the entire time, mashing my gears, willing myself to keep moving. It was CRAZY!!

Make sure to watch this climb tomorrow!!  To give you an idea, I think I was going 8km/hr on a lot of it, and the cycling coach I am here learning under said the racers will do it tomorrow between 15-20km/hr ?!?!?  HOLY COW !

Watch it for sure!


1 comment:

Dennis said...

It's interesting how the French roads will suddenly turn into some type of really steep paved cow trail. I remember showing up at Mont Blanc with my 39 x 11-23 and all the GPM10 riders were laughing at me. I had to zigzag across the road (standing in the pedals of course) just to keep moving.

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