The Alps – Day 1

Peaky Climbers Team Training Camp, The Alps, France

13th July 2017

Started in fine fashion. The boys were down for breakfast at 8am sharp, eggs all round, croissants and French stick…then the mornings itinerary was agreed:

  1. Go for our morning ablutions
  2. Get the bike boxes down
  3. Re build the bikes
  4. Go for a second morning ablutions
  5. Shower
  6. Go for a ride

All the boys excitedly unpacked their bikes. Some more prepared than others and 20 minutes later…we were still rebuilding! All was progressing well until Macca slotted his rear wheel in, but it didn’t spin properly. On closer inspection it was apparent that his rear brake disc had bent in transit…damn!!!

After an emergency trip to 2 bike shops, Macca decided to get a replacement fitted for €26, a lower quality than what was on originally…but it needed to be done. JB and Simon met Macca so the walk of shame back to the hotel was not done solo…the Peaky Climbers were ready to go. 

11am and we were off. A good 10km warm up ahead of what was hoped to be a sensational climb up the Col de Madeleine. It’s such a tough climb it’s categorised as HC…it’s 20km long with an average gradient of 8%.

The weather was scorching hot. 30 degress, no wind…it was relentless and stayed all day. Drinks bottles were being regularly refilled all throughout the day and heads being cooled off under water taps in the villages.

Cricky set off at a good pace with JB, Ben and Macca close behind. Simon was finding his climbing legs, searching for a suitable rhythm. Every kilometre to go to the summit is marked, together with the gradient for the forthcoming section. This helped keep the guys focused as they pushed on to achieve their biggest ever single climb. 
Simon was finding the going tough today. The sun blazing down, with very little shade and no breeze was causing him to over heat. The first 10k Macca spent chaperoning his team mate, culminating in a much needed water refill at a cafe. The plan was to meet as a team 5k from the summit and grab some lunch, refuel and top up all the drinks bottles. 

The remaining 5km was stunning if not super tough. Gradients of up to 12% for long periods had to be overcome. Cricky was there to meet JB and Macca at the top, followed by Ben and then Simon.

Simon’s attitude and positive mind set is what pulled him through today. A superb achievement and as he stated the “hardest thing he’s ever done”.  
It was then, after a few photos, an about turn and a speedy decent back the way we came. 15k decent, veering left up to our next climb, the category 1 and incredibly tough Col de Chaussy. 

1533m in height the boys started in fine form. This time Cricky was Simon’s domestique for the duration of the climb, keeping him motivated, stocked with water and his eyes on the prize. A super climb by all the Peaky Climbers, completing it as a team, it was then a quick pit stop at the cafe before a swift decent back home.

An incredible day and one that will live long in the memory. The training plans are working, tomorrow is the biggest challenge yet, bring it on. 


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