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DAY 9 – last big ride

With just 3 days left on camp today was the last big ride day with our route shadowing one of the key alpine stages of this years tour. Sadly we had to cut out the Joux Plan as they are doing road works – all of the roads getting upgraded when the tour comes to town but due to strikes they are 1mth behind!

We had just a 6km downhill roll out before hitting the Col du la Colombiere. At 11.6km with an average grade of 6% this was one of the “easier” big cols. I went straight to the front and settled into what was a good strong pace. The power numbers I was seeing were as good as back home when I’m fresh and on much shorter climbs. One by one everyone dropped off until the final km when I thought I had disposed of Shannon who had stuck to my wheel all the way up. Then in the final ~200m I heard her coming on with a sprint finish. Whilst I did not have much left in the tank I did pick up the pace but did not have the desire to go into a full on sprint. Well done to Shannon as looking at Strava I averaged 288w to place 47th overall so we rode well. She will take the Queen of the Mountain by over 3mins which is bloody impressive for a 1st category major climb like that.

On the descent we had to deal with some road works and freshly sealed tar. Whilst it sucked and compared to the road surfaces we’ve had all camp it was the worst. However compared to back home it really wasn’t that big a deal. Adam’s bad luck continued as he got a stone caught in his derailer that broke the hanger and it was ride over.

Next up was the Ramaz. I had not inspected to profile so was not sure what was in store . My plan was to just take it km by km with the great road signs that tell you what lies ahead for the next km. Again, I went straight to the front and set the tempo which was not as strong as our first climb but we were not as fresh. In total, the climb was 14km long with 968m elevation @ 7%. By halfway it was just John B and Shannon on my wheel but that was about where JB dropped off. The further we got into the climb my power started coming up but it still didn’t seem to be enough to drop Shannon. Then with maybe about 5km to go I stopped hearing the gear changes behind me and when we entered a bloody long steep tunnel (must have been easily 10%) I heard nothing but silence. When I flicked up a gear there was a huge echo so I knew that she must have dropped well behind. Out of the tunnel the grade eased off  and it would have been easy to drop off and roll to the top. I did an OK job of keeping it together reaching the summit in 120th on strava in 54:08.

The rest of the ride to Morzine was pretty rough knowing we just had to grind it out, my legs were done. Murray, Phil and myself tacked on 19km to get up to 120km.  

To finish off the day we were required to do a 10km run up and around Lac Montriod with a 3km swim. What a great place to train, a touch fresh in the swim but good for recovery. 

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