As you know the Tour de France is well underway. However, the first big day in the mountains has yet to come. It will come to the riders this Thursday in the form of the Col du Tourmalet. Yep, that is the monster of a mountain pictured here. They will actually be ascending the Tourmalet from the other side, descending down this side, then finishing on the climb to the ski resort of Luz Ardiden. You can find the full stage profile here. Just to put things in perspective, this mountain is close to 19km of climbing, averaging 7.4 percent grade. I would probably put myself in the top 3% of the world’s population in terms of cycling fitness (by no means am I bragging, there just aren’t a lot of cyclists compared to the population of the world). If I were to give it my best shot, I might be able to ride this climb in about 1hr 45min (ish)? That is based on my run at it last year, but I did stop at the sports bar 2/3 of the way to watch the tour’s finish on the TV with a bunch of European friends. I spoke with the brother of one of top riders in this year’s tour, and he told me that in training, Andy Schleck was putting in sub 1 hour climbs up it. That is the difference between the rest of the world and the men who ride the tour.
There is a good chance I will be tweeting live from my living room during this stage, and possibly providing some TV capture/commentary on instagr.am so if you are interested following me on Twitter this Thursday morning.
Photographic Note: This image is actually a composite of 4 images I shot with my old Canon G11. All I did was turn on the ‘panoramic assist mode’, shot my images, then let Photoshop auto assemble them. I was surprised how good it turned out. My hands were by no means steady, I had just ascended the Col after riding Luz Ardiden and I was shelled. I now have a 7ft long print of this hanging in my living room to remind me of the beating my legs took that day.