Friday, 20 June 2008

Cortina, Epic Tales - day 3

Tuesday 10th June 2008.
Epic Camp, day 3

Woke with stiff legs, having run 42miles since the start of the cap, and the hard ride yesterday, but the 50 min run before breakfast loosened them off.

In the pool I decided to have a go at swimming 1km ‘band only’ – worth a bonus point and not something I’ve tried before, but I reckoned it was just something to ‘get through ‘ rather than requiring any swimming skill, speed or finesse -which suits me! The first couple of hundred seemed pretty hopeless, but I did find that I got into a rhythm and was really quite enjoying it by the end of the set.

On the bike, I was going to make sure that I had an easy day to recover from the stupidity of day 2, despite the fact that there would be 2 KOM worthy climbs on our route to Cortina. I spent the first 3 hours of the ride absolutely glued to John Newsom’s wheel (fair game after yesterday, I thought!) not raising my Hr above 140. To be honest I have never really paid much attention to HR zones, preferring to train on ‘feel’ but since I had the Garmin I was taking note. When we reached the first climb, a pass over the Marmoloda, I felt fresh and again the group split as each climbed as his own pace. I let the HR up to 150, but not over. Steven and Gordo were away ahead, John had hung back at the bottom where there was a feed stop and I’d managed to get a jump on the rest of the guys, so I was climbing alone through this beautiful, silent and cold landscape. Feeling confident and comfortable I saw a rider ahead and recognizing that it was neither Steven nor Gordo dismissed him as a target and continued my leisurely ascent. The top came far sooner than I’d expected and I was surprised to realized that the rider who’ been just one switchback ahead was in fact Mike. Although he’s a strong rider, clearly, it’d not occurred that it could be him since the previous day the guy had literally been unable to walk with such severe muscle cramps and had not been able to train at all.

The second climb of the day, Passo de Gaiu, was somewhat of a greater challenge. A longer and higher climb, but with a bit more exposure to the warmth of the sunshine that had come out to light up the scenery for us. I worked this one a little harder, though by this point in the ride over reaching on heart- rate was not an option, digging deep was certainly the order of the moment. Checking the elevation on the GPS, I promised myself that after half way, and then after ¾ I’d get the tunes on to assist me up the final stretch. Boy was it worth it with the steepest sections at the top of the pass, Miss Kitten, Peaches and a bit of Basement Jaxx really did the trick as I reached the top in 4th position, very close behind Steven.

The hotel in Cortina is really good, we have a beautiful room and there are great facilities for working on bikes and carrying out maintenance. After 7 hours of riding I was glad to have got my run out of the way early in the day and have a much needed snooze before supper.

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