Sunday, 31 July 2011

Too many tempting challenges

stats of the week: run 22km, cycled 326km, gym 2hrs

Somehow this week developed the other way round. Lots of more cycling and too little running. Actually I couldn't resist to do another local bike event today. 150 km of hilly cycling in a lovely green area between the towns of Bonn and Siegen where I have never been before although it's just an hour's drive from home.

However, I have entered a half marathon on Sept 4. That should force me to turn to running now. Otherwise there is a very tempting local cycling event in mid August ...

Old boy - I am 58 and there should be some more things in life than just sports ... those things will come up anyway I guess.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mix season

stats of the week: run 23km, cycled 42km, gym 3hrs

Getting back to running was sort of ardous after weeks of just cycling exercises. I am already missing the longer bike rides and refrain from deciding to bring an end to my cycling season and swap to running.

So I'll try to practice a mixture of 3 running and 2 cycling workouts per week. Hope this will enable me to do a couple of more bike events (there is a new dream) and soon start into the autumn running season.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

L'etape du Torture

stats of the week: cycled 270km
L'etape du Tour acte 2, Issoire - St-Flour, 210km, 3,800 vm, 10.38h

Regarding my 3rd L'etape du Tour my intention was not to take it as a race but to see the beautiful volcanic landscape of the Massif Central and have an enjoyable long day on the bike.

However, the story turned out to be very different. Being warned by the weather forecast 3,000 of 7,000 applied participants refrained from starting. With good cause. Strong head winds, persistant rain and low temperature (4°c at the first pass) let more than 1,000 cyclists abandon their race until the first food station after 68km. Finally of 4,053 who started only 1,982 made it to the finish line before the strict closing at 7pm.

I managed to arrive at 6.09 pm - it was an all-day-fight to get there in time after 10.38 hrs. Adding to the weather conditions the route was even tougher than I expected. 3,800 vertical meters with a steepest ascent of 20% was more than I had anticipated. Anyway - these are the kind of days one will remember forever.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Lovely Day in the Dolomites

stats of the week: run 16km, cycled 288km
Maratona dles Dolomites: 138km, 4100 vertical meters, 7:51 hrs

It might sound amazing but a tough event can be lovely. The Maratona dles Dolomites is Italia's most popular cycling event, welcoming 9,000 participants. Organisation lovely, volunteers lovely, landscape lovely, race tough.

After the introductory "Kindergarden" lap around the Sella hills I was so exhausted that I doubted to make it to the finish without walking. Giau Pass is a real challenge, however in the upper part I felt stronger and finally I reached my target to finish sub 8 hours and qualify for 3rd pen next year. Alas - my speed was slower than last year. I was just faster because of less and shorter breaks at the food stations.

Now I look forward to doing the next ride. Target is merely to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Massif Central and the L'etape du Tour Act 2 from Issoire to St. Flour. The professionals did it last Sunday and warned us by numerous accidents ... The distance is 210km and the finish closes after 12 hours. It's going to be a long day. Lovely.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Proud seniors

stats of the week: cycled 917km, 19,553 vertical meters, 45:20 hrs

7 days of alpine cycling are finished! We made it. Every day we were nervous before the start, every day we were happy to arrive safely at the finish. It was tough, but not as tough as I expected it to be. However, looking at the photo presenting the finisher shirt I have to admit I looked very worn out.

Impressions are numerous! I saw beautiful areas I didn't know before: Lech valley, Silvretta High Street, Vinschgau High Street, the unique Mortirolo Pass, finally the wonderful countryside of the Italian Trentino.

I learnt that the Tour was regarded by the very most participants as a real race - even by the ones who made the middle and the end of the pack. Most of them reduced their time spent at the feed stations to the shortest needed. They stucked in the food whithout taking time to chew and jumped on the bike again.

The way the winners were celebrated was rather amazing. Senior males showed their pride like small boys. A salutary experience for a distant participant. Alas, I have to admit I looked quite similar showing my finisher shirt!

But there is some reason to be proud: We reached our target to be at least second last of the peloton. We ended up on place 71 of initially 111 senior teams (>100 years), adequately called "Grand Masters".

If you like to have a look there is a small Picasa Gallery.