Watching Volta made me humble!

Having been itching to watch stage 2 of the Volta on Eurosport, I was left thinking how bad I was!

by jimmythecuckoo   March 27, 2012  

It was meant to be my crowning moment.

Sat on the sofa with SKY+ remote in hand... the Daughter and the Wife were to watch on in awe as the pro peloton in the Volta Catalunya struggled up Els Angels with the same pain and lack of pace as I had on my stag party.

"This is a tough mountain" I had told them, failing to point out that in the 2010 Volta noted non-climber Mark Cavendish had stayed with the peloton over the cat 1 climb before winning the stage. They went over the easier side from Girona I had said to myself... its a different ball game from Bispal.

I had suffered immeasurably over the climb. I am old and from the Eastern English flat lands... a cat one mountain for me was like going into space. In fact despite not being that high, the altitude or pain got to me so bad that I was apparently waving to traffic and whooping as I rounded the last couple of hairpins.

Back to the living room... "Do you recognise this bit?" asked the wife... "Yes" I replied, " they will turn left past Monells and head up the climb any second now... you watch them slow down".

We watched.

And we waited, and they rocketed around the first hairpin that I remember standing on the pedals and almost stalling on.

In fact the front group never dropped from their big rings all the way up the 6 miles. It wasn't my crowning moment at all.

It was the moment I realised the chasm between the pro peloton and me was wider than it is in my dreams when Andy Schleck looks into my eyes on L'Alpe D'Huez and says "you go, win the stage and the Tour de France, I have nothing left.".

"Is that it then" said the wife as Marco Mercato, Dan Martin and the Bradley Wiggins group flew over the top in about half the time I had toiled up in.

"Yes, yes it is" was my solitary reply.

But I wont give up on this mountain, nor my dreams of beating a Shleck... I will be back on the climb in May thanks to the lovely people at Bikecat in Girona.

And this time it will be war...

 

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Nice piece, Jimmy. Brought back to earth with a bump. But don't give up trying to fly.

"It was the moment I realised the chasm between the pro peloton"

I've heard this said by people who have watched riders on a big climb, struggling to take in how the riders fly up something they themselves grovelled up miserably earlier in the day.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1943 posts]
28th March 2012 - 13:13

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When I started using Strava not too long ago, I was gutted to find that a climb that I had taken 6 minutes on, was crested by a certain Joe Skipper in just under 3 minutes. When I googled his name I felt a little better that at least he was a pro rider, with the associated training time etc.

That hill took me 5:19 on Sunday, a PB. I _will_ go under 5 minutes this year. Devil

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3084 posts]
28th March 2012 - 13:33

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You wanna beat a Schleck? Switch to time-trialling Wink

Nice piece, fact is that when we laugh at Cav or Cipollini's non-climbing skills (and yes, Andy Schleck's ineptitude against the clock), the judgment is being made against the performance of their fellow pros.

Stick Cav in a Sunday sportive in the hillier parts of the UK and he'd blow most of the field away.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8010 posts]
28th March 2012 - 14:20

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notfastenough wrote:
When I started using Strava not too long ago, I was gutted to find that a climb that I had taken 6 minutes on, was crested by a certain Joe Skipper in just under 3 minutes. When I googled his name I felt a little better that at least he was a pro rider, with the associated training time etc.

That hill took me 5:19 on Sunday, a PB. I _will_ go under 5 minutes this year. Devil


You know what's even worse? When you have an awesome ride, and go to create a new segment so you can brag about your time, and by the time the screen refreshes you're already out of the top 10 on YOUR brand new segment! Angry Can't they just give me 24 hours on the leaderboard before they start mining all the faster times from the pros and almost-pros?

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
28th March 2012 - 14:53

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@TheBigMong - I had a slightly different experience recently. I was out on the club run, and it split as usual, with the 'long' route going one way, and others going the other. I figured the short route was going to be shorter than I fancied, so I took the plunge and headed off in the direction of the brave. After a total of 4 hours, I arrived home absolutely cream crackered having spent a good portion of the 55 mile total falling off the back of the group, then catching them when they waited for me at the next turn. (This did include some notorious Derbyshire climbs, by way of explanation for what sounds like a poor average speed)

Then I check Strava to find that on one particular stretch, I was KOM! Ok, it's a rather bland stretch of flat road on the run back into Manchester, only logged by 20-odd people, and I was zipping along in the bunch at the time, but do you think I cared? I even took a screenshot of it!

The irony of struggling to keep up all day then finding a nice list of achievements online was not lost on me. I am simply grateful that my fellow club riders don't use Strava!

I just checked and I have been bumped to 2nd by some rogue - that needs fixing next time I'm out that way.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3084 posts]
28th March 2012 - 15:54

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