I haven’t had a lot of motivation to train since last fall. Hip tendonosis, herniated discs, a tired brain, bad weather, marking papers and the Jets kept me from getting much exercise over the winter. The byproduct of my apathy is a comfortable layer of fat around the mid section, lungs that seem to have shrunk to half their previous size and legs that want to quit after an hour of pedaling. I need some outside help to get this ship moving before it retires permanently to dry dock.mEnter the Tour of Romandie and stage 4, which will take place tomorrow.
When Yvonne and I ran our little bicycle tour enterprise in Europe, one of our riding days was a 105 km loop from the alpine town of Juan, over the Juan Pass, down the most awesome descent a roadie could ever hope to ride, up and over to Saanenmoser for coffee and eclairs, through Gruyere for some cheese, and then back to Juan through the town of Charmay. Tomorrow’s stage will follow much of this route and then take in part of my once usual Saturday loop, going from Gstaad and Gsteig, over the Col de Pillon and ending in the town of Leysin. I watched the promotional video that the TDR put out for stage 4 and felt like I was on my bike again, hurtling down from the Juan Pass at 80-90 km/hr. Sitting in my easy chair I felt 20 years younger and 20 lbs lighter. (At the present rate of weight gain I’ll be 223 by the time I’m 77.) My hands remembered the hurt of braking into the hairpins and my eyes started tearing. Is it the wind of the downhill or the heroic music in the video making me nostalgic. The climb through Gstaad and Gsteig is a nice steady one, and is followed by another long fast downhill that ends with the climb back to Leysin. My lungs are burning just thinking of the 12% leg buster at the beginning of that final climb. In my present condition I imagine my heart would be hammering along at 240 bpm just trying to keep the bike moving. The video short changes the climbs but makes up for it with a lot of downhill footage. Oh the downhills! So now the question; am I willing to put in the work to get back some of the fitness needed to ride these climbs? Am I willing to hurt for a while in order to enjoy tackling some mountain passes in the west this summer? Or should I become a cycling pedestrian, cycling only flat roads on windless days, and dreaming about what once was. I guess time will tell!
Enjoy the video.