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Why do I do this?

August 2, 2010

While cycling up the Col du Pradel[1], which is a pleasant 10% ish climb that goes on and on in the way cols do, I started to question why I was doing this.  That is not uncommon going up but the more surprising thing was the same question on the way down. The road is single track with blind bends and no barriers so you have to either be mad or go down quite gingerly which in turn means after 15 minutes of this my shoulders ached from braking the realisation was that I was not actually enjoying this. At least on the way up I had plenty of time to look at the views, which were very pleasant and in parts spectacular.

The fact that I also knew there was about 300m of climbing to do to get back was preying on my mind, or more accurately on my stomach as I had not eaten enough for breakfast and was concerned I was running out of fuel. I am in awe of the science in sport isotonic energy gels which taste fantastic when you need them and are disgusting when you don’t, but I’m sure there is a limit to the number you could or for that matter should eat/drink in one day.

The question of whether it was worth it or not was put to bed on the final 11km into Quillan, where the wide fast road allowed for a fast a furious descent into the town an since I had no further to go I could risk using the last of my energy and the last of my energy drink.

1) Just for a jape those funny Road maintenance people  had put a “Route Barre” sign on the road. Not at the bottom but at the top so if you were planning on going over the col rather than out and back you would be faced with a choice at the top. Go back now or start down and risk having to ride back up if the route was truly blocked. How they must have  laughed!

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