Pre-Ventoux - Les' legs get an Alpine workout

(Les writes:) Hello lowland people! I'm glad I didn't have one of those bikes yesterday ( as I did my first Alpine climb (on my new Secteur). In all it was about 40km long with a total of about 500m of climb - but about 400m of that in the space of 5.5km leading up to the summit. Picture attached of bike propped up in front of lift station with Glacier du Tour in the high background. The ups are relentless and the downs are frighteningly fast because they go on and on and you are always accelerating. I was freewheeling at about 35mph and still picking up speed quickly - chickened out cos sun was in my eyes and wasn't sure what was in front of me! The very hardest bit (maybe because I was tired) was the last 500m to my house which was the steepest at > 10% - had to use largest cog and the granny wheel, and stand up all the way! Very difficult to get off on such a steep hill as you only have a fraction of a second to get your cleat out of the pedal before you fall off or go backwards. French drivers are on average better than in UK and give you plenty of clearance. Their law says they must give you at least 1.5m. There were, however, a couple of drivers who gave me approx 1.5cm and could have applied sticking plasters to me as they went past - admittedly one of those was Swiss! Quite a lot of others out on bikes in the amazing autumn sun - interesting that the downs were freezing cold because I was wet and the air temp in the shade was about 5C. Fine in the sun and going up though. Will try again tomorrow in place of Sunday ride in Fens. Have to start no earlier than 2 pm because of hard frost.

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