Epic France – Day 8

FranceDay8

Swim: 0km
Bike: 175km / 2,650m
Run: 0k
Hours: 6h29

Final day of the camp and I finally slept well. I felt like others looked – dog tired. I think a huge part of this is mental. The end is in sight and you allow your body to feel tired, to start anticipating the recovery. I know that once we get going I’ll be ok. I’ve been getting stronger through the camp and hope to cap it off with a great day. The only competition is the double pointer King of The Mountains up Col De Grande Colombier – apparently the toughest climb on the camp rising 1200m in 15km. It was certainly made more of a challenge with the 38c temps.

I decided not to attack right from the start and just went with the group but after a couple of minutes with Clas off the front and feeling good I picked up my pace. I felt strong and was easily holding 320 watts, I was keeping Clas in sight and very quickly lost sight of the others. I found the steeper climb suited me better allowing an out of the saddle rythm. When I was pushing I felt I could just keep going. The climb took a little over an hour and I had nearly best power for that just a few watts below what I did earlier in the camp. This time though it didn’t feel like best effort just close ;o). Chuffed to bits. I also got to the top second which was pleasing.

We’d come up the easy side so had to go down the narrow 19% road. I think I’m a little more nervous than I used to be on narrow steep roads. I think rims exploding and blowouts have taken their toll on my mindset. So when we hit this really steep section I tried to take it easy. I wonder whether it’s counter productive as it means having the brakes on more rather than having them on very hard for shorted sections but I must say I was concerned about the speeds you could get to and the heat of the day and in my rims. So coming down the steep bit I have a front tyre blow out. Time slowed down and I remember preparing myself to fall and moving to the side of the road where there was a bank of grass which seemed more comfortable! Then I realised I could bring it under control. Everyone whizzed by but Zach kindly stopped and road back up to me. I couldn’t touch the rim for 5 minutes of more. When I got the tube out you could see the heat had kind of melted the rim tape, exposing the spoke nipple and putting a centimetre split in the tube. Scary stuff.

Zach followed me down. The others had waited and luckily for me the rest of the descents were a little more sweeping.

There was another 750m ascent just before lunch which was taken in a beautifully shaded spot. You could tell no one really wanted to lead. Scott primed me by commenting about the pull I’d done to end Epic Italy and he’d not seen me on the front on the aero bars. Today was a prime day for long pulls on the front with 50 or 60k at the end on flatish roads coming in to Lyon.

So … with about 50k to go I did what I feel is the duty of the yellow jersey holder and pull the group home. I felt pretty good though not as good as when I did the same on Epic Italy or during end to end. I’ll admit I was pleased that I managed to pop at least couple (apologies) but it just wouldn’t be Epic Camp if that didn’t happen and it certainly wouldn’t have been an appropriately strong pull.

It meant we got back by just after 4:30pm which gave plenty of time to pack bikes and relax a little – write blogs! Now about to head for end of camp dinner in Lyon. I’m looking forward to kicking back and having a fun relaxing time.

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