Doubt Or Anticipation

Over the years I have been lucky enough to do a lot of riding in the Alps and Pyrenees, but no matter how many times I go, there always remains a doubt or sense of anticipation that never goes away. For me it usually comes on the long drive up into the mountains. You have your special driving-into-the-mountains soundtrack on, or NPR’s Radiolab. At some point on that drive you will be presented with a jaw-dropping view of snow-capped peaks. Once you get past the initial “Wow! Mountains!” which usually comes as a scream out of the driver’s window, the size of the task ahead (literally) makes you question the logic of what you are about to take on. In the Pyrenees the feeling came on the drive along the E80, or “Le Pyrénéenne“. When we were riding the area around the Joux Plane and Morzine, it came on the drive along the Route des Grands Alpes. On the way to Alp D’Huez a few years back it came heading out of Briançon on the Route de Briançon just before sunrise, when peaks started to emerge out of the darkness. This year, after time on the roads around Lake Como, we started the drive to Bormio to ride the Italian high Alps. This time the feeling came around a town called Sondrio on the Via Nationale. We stopped at a super market to stock up the camper for the next few days, and while standing in the car park I looked up, and the picture above was presented to us. There it was again, the doubt. Did I train enough? Just how hard is this going to be? Or was it anticipation, because you know that no matter what, you are going to get up.

Categories: Routes

  1. your never enough trained, if your a maniac. let things flow… ;) today on the Tourmalet two different people asked me: and your km counter?

    for what I need a km counter? or a garmin or whatever…

    I ride and enjoy the wonderful landscapes, I dont care if a climb has 7,5 or 8%, if I have done 137km or 147km. my watch is enough. if I am interested in all theses numbers, I still have google or bike maps.


    best regards Stefan

  2. I heard a great story once about David Millar and Mark Cavendish. Despite being on different teams Cav asks Miller for advice. On one particular climb Cav rode next to Millar and uttered “I can’t believe I am at 420 watts already, I can never hold this” – Millar pointed to his Garmin which had tape over the numbers. If you stare at those numbers you are already beaten.

  3. Another “bad” one is the latter stages of the drive from Grenoble to Bourg d’Oisans. The mountains rise up almost vertically at each side of the road and your mind is thinking, with a mounting sense of trepidation, “Somewhere there’s a road which goes up those mountains and I’m supposed to ride up it!!”


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