mountains - feelings

Jun 18, 2009
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hello. i want to ask, for those who have done this, what were your emotions when you climbed ( not necessary on bike) for the first time a col from the tour?last july i was to hautacam ( not on the bike :D ) and i was like....i almost kissed the road, the sign from the top...i was watchin' the tour on tv since 2000 ( hautacam was the first major climb that year - coincidence) and i couldn't realise i was finally on top of a tour climb. sadly, i was to hautacam 5 days after the tour. this year i will go in my honney moon in briancon and i'll go on galibier, and hopefully izoard and madeleine.
anyway, any other emotions?
 
McLovin said:
this year i will go in my honney moon in briancon and i'll go on galibier, and hopefully izoard and madeleine?
Lucky you!

I'm too poor to have ever gone to Europe and ridden, and wasn't a good enough racer to make it beyond the local circuit. But I will say this, there is an incredible sense of glory about climbing any large, scenic mountain pass anywhere in the world. The challenge of going up, and thrill of coming down. I'm almost 50 years old and can still do it, if slowly. Riding up many climbs over the years has become part of my character, who I am. Maybe especially on days when it was just me and the bike, and no one for miles around. It's going to completely suck when I'm too old and can't make it anymore.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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I think not enough is made of the major climbs that preceed climbs like Hautacam.

The Col d'Aubisque was a ball busting climb taken out the by son of Cera Ricardo Rico last year after a super human effort from Jens Voigt to bust the pele' to bits all the way up.

The Col de la croix de fer may not be "21 switch backs to heaven", but you gotta say the Alpe D'Huez wouldn't be the same without it:)
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
That's a very good point. When was the last time the Stelvio was the final climb of a stage in the Giro? 1953? Ever? Or how about the Iseran?
i think that they can't put the finals on some climbs beacuse of the conditons. it must be a cement 'plateau' on top of the climb. you see galibier, tourmalet ( they put it in mongie), madeleine ( see this year dauphine)...or maybe because there are very very hard climbs to be at the end, where the rytm is harder. who knows? it's clear that madeleine it's more more more harder than alpe d'huez, but the last one it's more famous because it's the end of a stage almost every two years. maybe because of my two reasons i wrote.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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They could easily put the finish line at the top of the Tourmalet if racing from the Luz Saint-Saveur side.

Have the descent from there to La Mongie as a neutralized zone, and let the riders coast to the real finish.

They could work quite a few great moutaintop finishes this way.

A Galibier finish line with the Tour circus waiting at the summit of the Lautaret. Wouldn't that be just awesome?
 
Apr 20, 2009
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mont ventoux

in the 80s i got to do many french and italian climbs, expecially those around Nice. i have raced and ridden up mont ventoux from three directions. that was always my favorite.
 
May 6, 2009
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You know what I love about climbing long mountains? Is to go down the other side, if not to turn around and go back down and go as fast as possible and break only where you have to. I've watched way too much DVDs of Paolo Savoldelli descending (and Samuel Sanchez on youtube) for my own good.

I love climbing and is probably my favourite thing where I can spin all the way up (I drop so many people that way) and that is something I got from Lance Armstrong. Say what you like about him, but at least he perfected the smart way of pedaling up a mountain instead of the Jan Ullrich grind all the way up. Despite my height (6ft 2'') and my weight (80kg) I climb quite well and seldom do I get dropped.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Lucky you!

I'm too poor to have ever gone to Europe and ridden
:) monney are not throwing me out of my house neither, but it's not that expensive to visit this places. i have the advantage to be in europe anyway.

ever since i first watched the tour i was atracted with this passes. climbs are imo the no1 actors in cycling, riders come and go, but the climbs stay. and they judge, they say who win a tour and who lose.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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craig1985 said:
Has anybody climbed La Angliru? I have certainly thought about the next time I'm in Spain.
No, we went to Cantabria and did a lot of climbing, including Covadonga (which is VERY hard), but we thought the long drive to Oviedo would take too much out of us, so we wimped it.

Looking back, we should have gone for it... :rolleyes:
 
Apr 1, 2009
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I did Alp DHuez in early May, my first taste of cycling a serious mountain & it beat me, broke me & cast me aside like an old man who hadnt realised his shortcomings. Serious lesson learned. But i will be better prepared next time.
 
Last summer, I was travelling around Europe and done a range of big climbs, I wouldnt be a regular cyclist and wasnt in great shape. I rode Passo San Pellegrino, Pordoi, Marmolada(easy side) in Italy, Cod de Montgenevre and Iozard(Easy side) out of Briancon. Alpe d'Huez. In the Pyrenees I climbed Soulor/Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin & halfway up Hautacam before being stopped by the police closing the road for the stage.

I had different sensations on each climb, some kicked my ****, others I made it up ok and used my triple chainring on many climbs making it easier. Most difficult was Tourmalet which kicked my **** big time, took me 2 hours. Was very hot and I really suffered but fantastic feeling to make it to the top and views were stunning, not the cafe though.

Alpe d'Huez was tough but more maneagble, tough at bottom but its hard to figure out where the actual finish at the top is. Cycling Hautacam on the day of the stage was amazing because you get lots of people encouraging you in many langauges and it really feels like riding a stage of the Tour and definitely raises the adrenalin.

Strange as it sounds, the more I suffered on a climb, the greater the sensation when I actually made it to the top. Also amazing, how riding a Col a day really improves your fitness quickly.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Mountains

I had no Idea that riding the mountains of the Tour could be so emotional...

Many years ago, on our way to the World Road Champs in Barcelona, my colleagues suggested we climbed the Ventoux since we had the time to do it and were passing close by.

I had an ulterior motive also since I was a friend of Tom Simpson since we rode as juniors together in the 1950's....in a nutshell, we actyually rode too fast from the off-go and I was dropped about half-way up..we passed a faucet sticking out of a rock,,,,I seem to think it said Les Graves or some-such thing , anyway, I thought it was a candid camera stunt so didn't take a needed drink.

A motorist slowed down and yelled " Au Summit" at which I nodded and he then yelled " Idiot"....and I proceded towards the Heavens..

When I reached the monumet to Tom, it was as if an electric circuit had been broken, I put a foot down and no way could I procede past that point until my two colleagues did a 'U' turn at the top ( only a short distance more) and came down to see where I was....most uncanny ride I think I've done.

We did a bit of calculating and reckonned that even the Peloton( on that fateful day) would have climbed the Ventoux about 15 mins quicker than we did...happy days, sad days
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Mountains

No, I didn't come to live in the USA until 1974,,,,I am a Yorkshire Lad , lived on Teesside and spent many weekend racing in the Bradford area and also Newcastle obviously....
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Mountains

Yep, I guess I picked the wrong word pardner,,,if I'd called it a "tap", I don't suppose anyone over this side of the pond wouldget the meaning,,,,or think I was refering to a loose woman or something...seems strange to me that people don't think there was racing prior to Good Old Lance...especialy in the 50's and 60's...dope or no dope....COLIN LAING...I use my real name and don't hide behind some made up jargon.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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McLovin said:
and i'll go on galibier, and hopefully izoard and madeleine.
Do Galibier from the north, and the ride up D'Izoard from Briancon is a gem. Unless you really want to suffer, skip Col de la Madeleine and tackle l'Alpe - it is much eaiser, more interesting, and a much better col to brag about.

For what it is worth,I'm told Col Agnel from the Italian side is the beauty/beast of that area.
 
Jun 13, 2009
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This thread grabbed my attention, so I'm jumping in for a first post and will try and steer it back on topic. As far as emotion is concerned, I have a couple of experiences to share.

I'm a relative newbie to cycling. I got into it 4 1/2 years ago when my knees and shins couldn't hack distance running any more. In early 2005 I bought a new bike and signed up for a cycling trip to follow the Giro. I had never climbed anything higher than 250m. I knew I was out of my depth, but thought I could probably get through a few of the flatter rides and pass on the tougher rides and watch the race instead. The first day in the Dolomites I set myself a modest challenge to ride from Ortisei (1236m) to Passo Gardena (2136m). I started slow because I've always been a fairly ordinary cyclist, consistently getting dropped on the flat bunch rides around Melbourne. I did not appreciate that my light weight (60kg dripping wet), which had made it hard to hang on when it's flat and windy, gave me a serious advantage in the hills, especially the really big ones. I comfortably got to the pass and felt exhilarated. The brilliant scenery and my first glimpse of a pro race up close no doubt helped.

I've been back to Europe each year since then and have ridden quite a few of the biggies including Alpe d'Huez, Courchevel, Col de la Croix de Fer, Telegraphe/Galibier, Col de la Machine (in the Vercours), Mont Ventoux, Solour/Aubisque, Aspin/Tourmalet, Peyresourde, Passo Stelvio (from Prato and from Bormio), Passo Gavia, Sestriere and the circuit around Gruppo di Sella (including Passo Pordoi and Passo Campolongo). Each of them made me feel more or less the same happiness that I got from the Gardena Pass.

A few years ago on TV I saw the Giro stage finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Ricco won the stage). I thought it looked awesome, so a mate and I decided to give it a go a few months later. The road was still covered with the paint the tifosi had left behind, including indicators of the gradient at various noteworthy places (18% featured a bit and 21% once or twice). The last 4 kilometres average about 15% I think, so it was pretty slow going (6 or 7k/h at points). As we limped into the car park at the top, each of the 15 or 20 cyclists up there seemed to make a point of catching our eyes and nodding or smiling in a way that said "I've know how you've struggled, because I did too, and you have my respect for getting here.". I really enjoyed that moment.

Sorry, that was a long first post, but I had to get it off my chest. I'll aim to be more succinct in future.
 

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