La Morzine Haut Chablais 105km
“Have you entered the Morzine sportive?”
“Er, no! When is it?”
“You should! Sunday. It’ll be great fun!”
“I’ve only cycled a handful of times this season, doing 70km once last weekend. I didn’t even cycle all of last summer. I don’t think I’m up to it.”
“Erm, okay then!” (🙄 #idiot)
BUT, I’m dead chuffed I did! Thank you for persuading me!
A 105km bike ride (Garmin said it was just under…!) with 2200m of ascent (which means descent, too!), starting in Morzine and finishing at Lac Montriond. With the biggest ascent up the infamous Col de Joux Plane, which I’d never ever done before.
Excuse the French, but it scared me sh*tless.
DARE TO DO THE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU
Yesterday was spent collecting my race number, buying bigger water bottles, pumping up my tyres and making sure I was ready to go. Generally psyching myself out!
I slept really badly, and woke up with the usual nervous stomach churning.
A large bowl of porridge and banana, several visits to the loo (no, you really don’t need to pee AGAIN!) and I trundled into the centre of town where I bumped into some familiar faces, including those who thought that this was a great idea.
At 08h00 those nutters who had signed up to the 155km Grandfondo option with 3800m of ascent/descent set off, and we, the Mediofondo, followed at 08h15.
The advice I had been given was to pace myself, keep drinking and keep eating. Three things that I am pretty bad at when cycling.
The thought of taking my hands off the handlebars to reach for my bottle (it’s so far down!!) makes me go all wobbly and images of me splattered across the road enter my mind. Therefore, I’d rather not drink. Plus, there’s that one time I failed to put my water bottle back properly and that did NOT end well.
Eating when cycling often makes me feel nauseous.
I do normally give every bike ride my all, trying to collect as many awards on Strava as I can. A bike ride lacking in these is just not as satisfying!
However, today was different. I had no agenda, but to finish. I set off, slow and steady, and forced myself to keep drinking and eating. The result, I didn’t really burn out throughout the whole course. Win!
The route took us down towards Thonon, but before reaching the lake we hung a left and went up over through the Vallée Verte.
It’s been a stunning day with beautiful blue skies, crystal clear without a cloud insight. It has been hot, but, in my opinion (might be different if I asked a Granfondo finisher!) not absolute sweltering heat. The views were magnifique! A lot of cyclists were stopping and taking photographs. I thought I probably should, but didn’t and just enjoyed the views for myself. So, I appologise for the lack of photographs.
I cycled classic Rachael style – strong-ish on the ups, and then let everyone pass on the downs! Some of them are SO FAST! I was more scared for them than myself.
Shout out to Jude (who I serenaded on the Col de Joux Plane with a rendition of Hey Jude by The Beatles, but my version, cycling related. She was so lucky! 😉 ) who was either behind me on the ups or flying pass me on the down. It was nice having someone I knew around.
Once we hit the valley floor, I knew where we were going and was still feeling strong. Off up to Taninges and then the climb up the Col de Joux Plane. I was warned the last 4km are the worse. Well, the first few were pretty damn steep and I thought if that continued, this was going to be long and hard.
There is something to be said for imagining the worse. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My knees were beginning to ache, my glutes/lower back were burning, but I remained calm and decided I was going to have to relieve this pain somehow.
I NEVER stand out of my saddle. Unless in a Spin class. But cranking up the gears, I stood up and peddled. Why have I not done it before?! Okay, I might have crunched through the gears and be a bit wibbly wobbly all over the road, but it was so much better!
The views at the top were fantastically rewarding. As cheesy as it sounds, I was so pleased I’d made it, that I was home, could see the chalet, Mont Blanc, all the familiar mountains, ski runs, hiking trails and was actually loving being on my bike.
The descent was on the road we like to call the ‘yellow brick road’ or the Choucas in winter; a nice cruisy blue run. You wouldn’t think that on a bike. I definitely ski it faster.
Back into Morzine and a final push up to Lac Montriond, with a “Go Rachael” from my mum, as I crossed the line in 5hrs, and 5th in my age group. Quelle suprise!
Little Olive appreciated cuddles as she got to lick (gross) my salty limbs and face, mmm!
A free meal of Reblochon, chicken pasta and some tarte, filled a little of the enormous hole in my stomach. A very well organised event by Grand Trophee, merci!
I’m so glad I entered. Over the course of the 5 hours, I could already feel my confidence growing, testing out new skills and getting more experience on my bike and the road. My legs feel ok and I may well go out on my bike tomorrow! Cor, times are changing…
Bike related, we’ve had Crankworx in Les Gets for the second year running this week. This afternoon I went to watch the Slopestyle final. Now that IS scary. And I was only spectating.
Photo credit to Alex Morgan, my housemate and awesome photographer. He has spent all inter-season designing and creating his website (which I think is pretty clever in itself!) www.alexmorganpictures.com – go check it out!