One day: Massif Central to Geneva: 270km in 12.5 hours solo (36degrees)
We attempted this bad boy 2 years ago but heavy rain and lack of equipment made us stop and get the train to Geneva.. We were shivering to the bones..
This time round, things were looking bright and warm. I was going to attempt the ride solo and complete it in one singular day. The plan was to get as far as possible before the sun getstoo hot. 36 degrees celcius predicted.
4:45Am wake up and I set off in total darkness through country hamlets and forests… everything is pitch black and I prepare to sprint if any dog
attempts to race me.
8AM: a quick breakfast in Serrieres and about 70km into the ride. This was the easy part and I’m only a quarter into the ride. To follow are the long flat straights (130km) which are OK as long as you feel fresh. On y va… after a couple hours I head north and catch a friendly tail wind. Everything is fine, I feel on top of the world but remind myself never to push on the pedals more than I need to. I just try and keep my steady pace and go economy on each breath. Drink, eat wisely.
I’m 220km into the trip with the hardest 50km to go, with right in front of me a 700m climb on hair pin roads. This would not be a problem at the start of the day but my sense of perspective is already distorted after today’s effort and heatwave.
2:30PM, I go for it and it’s tough! No way am I taking photos anymore. I reach the top and cycle through the last valleys before I finally hit the last hill. At the top of that, I see lake Geneva (5:00PM) .. it’s all the way down from here to the finishing line.. The only fuel left is adrenaline… Completed.
In a weird way, I enjoyed every bit of that trip. There is something nice about pushing yourself, getting an understanding of how you feel and how you’ll cope with the physical and psychological pain.
I always think that so much time on a bike is going to solve my questions. It does not. In actual fact, it just makes me think about the simple things in life, ie water, pot holes, and how big our planet is when riding a bike.. and that’s why I like it so much…
Psychologically, no surprises. I knew the last bit was going to be cruel and I managed to spread my energy wisely. I slept well that night and woke up feeling positive pain all over. Eddie Mercxx used to do these distances on a daily training basis.. sick.