Page 11 - DLNnov2015-1000
P. 11

Cont; from last month.

Day 3: we diverted to a Decathlon, with some very slick navigation from Katie,
and with a knee support in place and flat pedals fitted we were once again
back on course and heading to Mount Ventoux and our hardest day on paper.
I have not ridden with toe clips for perhaps 12 years and it took a bit of
re-learning particularly at roundabouts where if I didn’t have my feet inserted
into the clip it would hang below the pedal catch the road surface and flick
the bike over as I leaned into the corner. A few of these stomach dropping
incidents were enough to teach me.

Katie had planned that we should spend that night in the village just below
Mont Ventoux, the first checkpoint, and tackle the climb in the early hours
of the morning hopefully getting to the summit before dawn. I was complaining
for probably about the last 20km as to why we had to end the day with a
significant climb, why couldn’t we stay lower down, it had been another long
day and I think our lack of sleep generally was catching up with us. We arrived
late at the hotel, perhaps about 9pm, but managed to get steak for dinner
at a nearby restaurant.

Over dinner Katie managed to persuade me to leave my SPD pedals behind.
I had been carrying them since our trip to Decathlon loathe to discard them
as they weren’t actually broken. I bowed to Katie’s experience of how big a
climb we would be facing tomorrow and with a heavy heart left the pedals on
the dining table in the hotel, I should explain I am from Yorkshire! By the time
we had finished dinner Katie didn’t even get into bed she just slept on top of
the bare mattress.

Day 4: We were on our bikes at 04:00 and in the dark headed towards Mt
Ventoux. This is the longest climb in the Alps, steep, with sections between
9 & 12% and so windy. I struggled up; with nothing holding my left foot to the
pedal I was unable to apply any power to the upward stroke of each pedal
revolution. What’s worse is that whilst my knee was now supported there was
still quite a lot of pain so I couldn’t even stand up on the pedals. I was also
becoming aware of a tearing sensation in my lower back on the left side, a

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