Hold on, cause this is gonna hurt like hell

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Stage Ripoll to Font-Romeu
93.1km m Climbing 2,314m Avg moving Speed 19.3kph Average Heart rate 155bpm

General Classament 168th of 186

The photo above shows the bags that were remaining at the Finishing village as I began the slow walk to Hotel Pyrenees with my head down. Each bag represents another soul struggling up the final 11km climb to the finish.

168th of 186 who finished. This does not bode well for the rest of the week- and today was the easy day! 

Tomorrow has two climbs averaging 8.1% end at 3 Ax Domaine. I do not feel great- time to dig in.

7hrs 30 min to avoid elimination.  This Haute Route will be long and difficult (or very short 🙂 )

Full steam ahead Barcelona

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Relaxing in my hotel room before the start of the Haute Route tomorrow.

Transfer to the start at Ripoll with over 2000m of climbing on the 93km to Font-Romeu.

Gotta remember to carry my passport for the Border crossings- I believe we cross in to France twice tomorrow

Follow results, photos etc on Haute Route website and on Facebook

Plans

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July 12th 2013 Annecy France.

‘Next year I’m doing the Haute Route. Stated Hugh. ‘ Will you do it? ‘
‘I will’ I replied
‘If you say you’ll do it you have to do it, right? ‘ Hugh lays down the ground rules

‘I’ll book it tomorrow when I arrive back in Ireland’

05:30 August 30th 2014 Dublin Airport Departures.

I’m sitting having coffee with Hugh waiting to board my  06:40 flight to Barcelona to begin Haute Route Pyrenees

“Will passengers traveling to Merseile on flight EI3695 to Merseile please go to gate 213?’

”Well we gotta go”  remarks Hugh as he and his beautiful girlfriend rise and reach for their bags ”Good luck in the  Haute Route”

“Thanks”  I sigh.

As he maneuvers his wheely bags around the tables in the airport bar he glances back

‘Brendan says your over trained but I’m sure you’ll be fine”  and he is gone.

I am alone in Terminal 2, 9kg over weight, waiting to board my flight for Haute Route Pyrenees

Plans

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July 12th 2013 Annecy France.

‘Next year I’m doing the Haute Route. Stated Hugh. ‘ Will you do it? ‘
‘I will’ I replied
‘If you say you’ll do it you have to do it, right? ‘ Hugh lays down the ground rules

‘I’ll book it tomorrow when I arrive back in Ireland’

05:30 August 30th 2014 Dublin Airport Departures.

I’m sitting having coffee with Hugh waiting to board my  06:40 flight to Barcelona to begin Haute Route Pyrenees

“Will passengers traveling to Merseile on flight EI3695 to Merseile please go to gate 213?’

”Well we gotta go”  remarks Hugh as he and his beautiful girlfriend rise and reach for their bags ”Good luck in the  Haute Route”

“Thanks”  I sigh.

As he maneuvers his wheely bags around the tables in the airport bar he glances back

‘Brendan says your over trained but I’m sure you’ll be fine”  and he is gone.

I am alone in Terminal 2, 9kg over weight, waiting to board my flight for Haute Route Pyrenees

Grey

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Sitting in front of my lunchtime coffee looking out at a blustery grey day.

I’m feeling ‘Grey’. 3 days to go before I leave for the  Haute route and my form is flat.

I’ve gained weight every week. I feel sluggish on the bike and I died a hundred times on the Sean Kelly tour before I finally arrived back in Dungarvan.

I have decided to take this week off and finalise (I.e. start) packing.  I’m actually looking forward to the haute route I just feel I’ve struggled to peak twice during
the space of 8 weeks

Mur Di Giat

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The Cat’s Claw. After 132km we arrived back at La Villa with only 6km to go we swing a hard right and bang!  500m at 12%

My tongue was hanging and I struggled. What this photo does not show is me trying to past waking cyclist while other riders tried to squeeze by me. I clung on. The suddenly my chain slipped.  I fell back onto the saddle and my front wheel rose in the air. There was a gasp from the spectators on the Hill. My front wheel landed on the foot path. I lifted the front wheel once again and managed to get it back on the road. I was able to turn the pedals one again and crested the hill.

Only four kilometers to go but there was still time for a duel with a fast Italian who was determined that he was going to cross the line before me and was not going to carry me to the last 50m only for me to pass him.

He zoomed by me with 2000m to go. I broke from my group and got on his wheel. He glanced back at me. He slowed suddenly and I found myself serving to avoid him. I was at the front.  Game on!

After 500m I decided to feign exhaustion and I slowed.  He burst passed again and as he opened a gap of 50m in 3 secs I realised I wasn’t feigning. I cursed and put him out of my mind. He was gone and I’d nor catchhim. With 600m to go another rider zoomed by and this time I got on his wheel. He carried me towards the finish and with 200m to go I passed my Italian friend and raced across the line. Good fun.

7 hours and 20 minutes. My first Maratone Dles Dolomites completed.

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Mur Di Giat

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The Cat’s Claw. After 132km we arrived back at La Villa with only 6km to go we swing a hard right and bang!  500m at 12%

My tongue was hanging and I struggled. What this photo does not show is me trying to past waking cyclist while other riders tried to squeeze by me. I clung on. The suddenly my chain slipped.  I fell back onto the saddle and my front wheel rose in the air. There was a gasp from the spectators on the Hill. My front wheel landed on the foot path. I lifted the front wheel once again and managed to get it back on the road. I was able to turn the pedals one again and crested the hill.

Only four kilometers to go but there was still time for a duel with a fast Italian who was determined that he was going to cross the line before me and was not going to carry me to the last 50m only for me to pass him.

He zoomed by me with 2000m to go. I broke from my group and got on his wheel. He glanced back at me. He slowed suddenly and I found myself serving to avoid him. I was at the front.  Game on!

After 500m I decided to feign exhaustion and I slowed.  He burst passed again and as he opened a gap of 50m in 3 secs I realised I wasn’t feigning. I cursed and put him out of my mind. He was gone and I’d nor catchhim. With 600m to go another rider zoomed by and this time I got on his wheel. He carried me towards the finish and with 200m to go I passed my Italian friend and raced across the line. Good fun.

7 hours and 20 minutes. My first Maratone Dles Dolomites completed.

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Passo Gardena

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Sitting and relaxing the day before Maratona Dles Dolomites. Tomorrow we will be coming over the Passo Gardena descending the valley past our Hotel before heading out on another loop of the mountains.

The roads here are full of high end cars,   high end motorbikes and high end bikes. We are in the home of Pinarello. The home of licra and Italian sizing.

Later today we will be heading back to exchange our Maratona Jerseys. They were all a little tight. I will be changing my L for a XXL. Yesterday evening we stood in a circle trying on our jerseys. We contorted our torsos to squeeze into them but had help each other out of them. I was worried that my nipples would tear my Jersey as Hugh peeled it off me. #disturbing

Just say yes kids

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There is a golden thread …

As you are all aware by now my quest to get Gold at the Dartmoor Classic has reached extreme levels. I have done everything to reach my goal. Up to and including talking performance enhancing substances. 

I wrestled with my conscience but when I was passed by a Septuagenarian 7 years ago on the Wicklow 200 I knew everyone was on something.  ‘You can’t win the Tour on mineral water’

I dabbled with a few chemicals.  First I went to Floyd Landis for inspiration. Beer and Jack Daniels went down well but incredably my times worsened. I even took a couple of wrong turns and put my Jersey on inside out.

I then became aware of Beetroot juice.  ‘Nature’s EPO’. Cycling magazines wondered at its supernatural powers.  I understand that many of the world’s top professional teams swear by it.

I followed a ‘loading regieme’ recommended by a leading cycling magazine and even purchased two ‘Beetroot gels’ which I consumed en route.

The result?  Red everywhere!  Red from everywhere!  It is hard to portray the facts without seeming vulgar but I feel the need to impress upon my followers the florescent redness that has been part of my life for the past 5 days. 

The highlight?  Cycling up the first 11% gradient of the day. I cleared my throat- bright red sputum. I thought it was a piece of lung.  Then I realised there was no taste of blood.  Beetroot.

For the past 5 years I have dreamed of waking up with a Dartmoor Gold medal.  Today I lived that dream.  The highlight was when I went to the loo.  Gold! Not red or florescent purple but just a golden steam- priceless.

Next year I will use EPO. Keep clear of Beetroot kids