Monday, 9 September 2013

Sunshine Of Your Love...Monday 9th September 2013.

Blitzkreig playing from Ginge, Jack & Eric!

So the first stage 'proper' begins...17's effort is 9500' of climbing and 90 miles going forward...we hope. The weather forecast was iffy to put it it proved!

The Mild Bunch.

A shower faffing.

More faffing...

And they're last!

All running ok until one of our number (Sammy) suffered a major mechanical: his rear derailleur mechanism sheared clean 'awf! The consensus was that the rear hanger took a whack in transit and thankfully there was a spare of sorts available and after 30 mins of more feverish faffing we were away again...

End of play? No way...Sammy was back on the road after 30 mins or so.
We had one minor climb to warm-up on with a tasty descent before re-grouping and heading to our cafe stop, only to find that the cafe was closed! On a Monday? Disgrace. A nearby Agip forecourt and shop did a roaring trade instead and after a protracted break we then headed off again with Il Tractore and myself attempting to drive things on. Well, he did 2/3rds of the work as usual but it's the thought, right?

...and the start of the major play. Looks benign, right?

Man-Machine er, Landscape interface. Die Werk!

Whether it was arrogance or just plain stupidity I don't know but I started the serious climb of The Gross Glockner without having eaten nearly enough food: maybe I only remembered how I enjoyed relatively good form in The Pyrenees last August and blithely assumed that I'd enjoy the same fortune now. Wrong!

Would've been glad of the order.
We continued the climb and I basically ran out of gas...the last 6 miles were bloody awful, with temperatures dropping, rain falling more steadily and visibility reducing. All good, really. Complete rookie move by yours truly in not giving my engine a fighting chance by fuelling it, and I am old enough and stoopid enough to know better.

Unreal. A tandem. With a trailer. Again, unreal.

And we're now IMC.

Gratuitous beaver shot. I know my audience.

This is what it should've looked like...on the way down wearing 8 layers and thawing out. At 45 mph.

From there the work wasn't over- we still had a testing headwind and a charming onset of rain to get through...we did it and it felt tremendous to have been the first home...we stayed at a nice hotel complete with a purpose-built drying room which makes admin so much need to scrounge yesterday's newspapers, hah-hah!

Excuse the same shots but it just is magnificent! When you can see it.

Always on the righteous. Apparently.

Pot of gold? Il Tractore, more like.
So ended a fairly full-on day...we go again tomorrow. Usual script, please share this with your pals as the aim is to get money for the charities. I'll leave you with Eric & Peter!

Lazy Sunday Afternoon...Sunday 8th September 2013.

Such a tremendous band.

So it's billed as a 'rest day' in sunny Jochberg, which is about 5 miles south of Kitzbuhel. This means a slight lie-in and a search for a full Irish/English. Yeah, right. Coffee and a couple of rolls with jam and that's yer lot. Disgrace!

The good news was that some other riders and support crew had arrived and were soon busy assembling bikes...

Skilled technicians, accomplished cyclists. Where can we find some?

After the 'how do you do's' etc., it was time to saddle up and head north to find the trail up to the unofficial warm-up climb of the Kitzbuheler Horn. Strangely enough only three of us elected to take on this short nightmare: me, Nick and Il Tractore who had this brainwave in the first place.

So what? Doesn't look all that, right?

Great big lump in the distance. Not Il Tractore but the Kitzbuheler Horn...

The only way is up!

Nick is already out of sight and Andy is dropping me too. Gits.

You gain altitude so rapidly and the compensation for the pain is a bike with a view!

The gradients ramped up as you went up...11%, 14%, 17%  and then a savage 22%!

It was excruciatingly awful yet so rewarding: what makes the mountains so er, enjoyable and genuinely worthwhile. By the time Andy and I had struggled up the last section to the finish line (you get a ticket from an automated machine at the start line too) Nick was already 10 minutes cold! My time was 55 minutes which was alright as it goes...

One proper cyclist and two passers-by...Nick on the left, Andy and myself.

Needs more switch-backs...
Bit of ropey video on the way back down!

Worth the effort.

Slowly (22mph!) back to Jochberg. No wonder I'm dropped...

A rabble in the team briefing. Disgrace.

Glad that we went up was extreme stuff. Oh, so that's why only three of us were dumb enough!