It has been an insanely hot second day of the Trois Etapes. From breakfast until dinner we have been sweating… without even pedaling up 2100 meters vertical by bike!
After a controlled peloton start for 38km the teams were set off in 90 second intervals up the 20km Col de Glandon. Having descended this route in last years race I had some idea of what lay ahead. It is a pretty constant climb between 6 and 9 degrees for the first 17km and then kicking up to something much steeper for the final summit. Winding up through the tress we set a strong tempo from the start and stayed tight as a team of 8. The stage was decided by the fastest 4 wheels across the line and so it was a game of attrition to see who was left for the final slog to the top. After 3km I punctured on the back and so had a mad scramble with the support car to change the wheel and then catch back up to the team.
Slowly, the team dropped off until we were left with Matt, Jamie, Terry, Greg and myself pushing upwards. Everyone gave it their all and we kept pushing hard as the temperature soared to 35 degrees and we cleared the tree line, onto the upper mountain.
Greg was close to cramping and Terry was starting to hit the wall in the final kilometres – on a couple of occasions dropping off the back and then managing to fight his way back up. It was a sensational performance – Jamie looked like he was riding within his limits, with Matt just about hitting his limit in the final kilometre.
The following 27km descent was absolute bliss, followed by a much needed plate of pasta to refuel.
It was a tough day… and tomorrow looks even bigger!
Greg 51st 1hr 31min 37
Mark 52nd 1hr 31min 38
Jamie 53rd 1hr 31min 40
Matt 54th 1hr 31min 41
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