I’m no climber.
At 100kg people wonder why I choose to spend my holidays heading overseas on my bike grinding up some of the toughest climbs in France. Sometimes I ask myself the same question whilst with sweat pouring off me 1/2 way up a climb like the Col du Tourmalet.
There is something about pushing your limits and making it to the top of the climbs that I watch on Tour de France in the wee hours of the morning. The pros make it look easy whilst couching it and snacking on “Tour Snacks” and listening to the dulcet tones of Phil and Paul. The professionals seem to effortlessly climb at speeds that I’d be happy doing into a slight headwind on the flat roads around Barwon Heads.
Given that I’m definitely not a pro, I take all options available to me to make a 2 hour climb as bearable as possible. I need to have the energy to get back to our base, and enjoy a beer or two (or more) and back up for the next day’s ride.
Some of the things you won’t see pro riders do;
- Bike with endurance geometry* – comfort is more important than speed (no stage cut off times for me)
- Compact crankset (as per #1)
- 32 sprocket rear cassette – (my best friend on a 15% ramp and used more than I thought)
- My stem is not “slammed” ( see #1 )
- Big 750ml water bottles in the cages ( big blokes sweat)
- Stop for coffee at least once (at bottom and the summit – apparently it helps)
- Sit down and eat a “plat du jour” 3 course lunch after the climb (with a glass of wine)
- The “sticky bidon” can get stuck
- Kits that don’t match (after a week of cycling anything goes)
*Paris – Roubaix and Spring Classics excepted
Yes when it comes to conquering the big climbs of the Pyrenees a MAMIL’s got to do what a MAMIL’s got to do. Leave your ego in Australia.