The Time Trial (TT). Our times won't compare with the pro's.... they get closed roads & no traffic lights. They also wear silly helmets and stupidly revealing skin tight clothes! We'd have wupped their sorry backsides otherwise.... I mean, we didn't crash in Harrogate, we didn't fall off on the cobbles, we didn't get 2 of the cobble stages removed..... Aye.... we're tough guys!
TOUR DE FORCE RULES !!
Day 22 Stage 20 Sat 19/07/14 Bergerac - Perigueux 54km
|Ave speed km/hr
||Max Speed km/hr
|Ave Heart Rate
||Max Heart Rate
||Total Distance to Date
Garmin tells me... Hours riding = 156hrs 28 mins. Total Distance 3,629km Total height climbed 49,619m
Time Trial (TT) Saturday 19 July
We got a lie in till 7am, had a nice relaxed breaky, and set off at 8am...... for an easy 5 km cycle to the start of the Time Trial (TT).
Everyone was talking about the TT and would they push or would they cruise! Well you know me..... even if I wanted to cruise I wouldn't be able to!!! I wasn't really in sprint mode but I knew I would be pushing a bit, and probably a lot at the end! Incredibly my legs felt great...... not heavy. It's amazing what 7 hrs sleep can do!!!!
I only had 1 pair of shorts on for the first time since day 1! But the gel seat cover was still on and I had 2 water bottles, so I wasn't in full race mode!
We set off in town and had to cope with traffic and traffic lights. But after about 4km we had open roads and I set off on my own at a reasonable pace.....
I came across Florin and rode a km or 2 with him and then pulled away and was on my own for a while before the steam train of the "Banana gang" came by. Steve, Rich and Weeksy flew past me, so I realised this would have to be a team time trial! We pushed for a good 10 k rotating every 2 mins before Weeksy let us go after the first big hill. He'd planned this and had set a good first stint. So then Steve, Rich and I pedalled like crazy and the average speed rose from high 20's to low 30's very quickly. This was fun and it really felt like we were racers! We hit 45 on the flat, and higher downhill.
The hills came, the rain came but we kept pushing. I sneaked a crafty gel in at 25km which helped. We passed a lot of riders. The final big hill was a killer and I saw my Heart Rate go over 171 (it had been below 160 for the whole tour and only over 150 now and then.... so I was definitely pushing now!)
Then at the end of the 12% hill with heart pounding there was a flat bit and then ANOTHER ramp of 12%!! A killer. But only 4 km left as we hammered in. Just Rich and me now.
With 1 km to go a steep descent and a tight right hand bend before a roundabout caught Rich out and I saw him fall (loads of people fell here as it was so greasy with wet roads). I had to avoid and go the wrong way round the roundabout (as will all the pros I am sure!).
Rich got up straight away and we cruised through the traffic to the finish.
We passed the finish and got to the van where I stopped the Garmin. So we did a bit extra, but never mind. 1 hour 44 mins with an average speed of 32.1 kph (20 miles per hour). Not bad considering 3 reasonable hills and 1 killer 12% hill in the rain with town traffic and traffic lights at both ends of the distance!
Mr Nibali..... the gauntlet has been laid!
For the first time of our Tour I was the first back.... just ahead of Rich. Definitely not the quickest cos some of the faster riders started after us and/or weren't racing. I believe our fastest rider managed 1 hr 30. But it felt good to have pushed and done well.
A celebratory coffee in a nearby cafe where Steve's bike suddenly blew a tube! And then onto the bus at 11:45 for the 6 hr drive to Evry, just outside Paris.
A lot of thoughts and contemplation on the bus. Talking about the past 3 weeks and of course what lies ahead for us in the real world, outside the TdF bubble.
Last day tomorrow. 100km is easy and simple riding into the centre of Paris. We will do a slightly different route due to traffic issues and safety but we'll start and finish at the right spots. Looking forward to Andy rejoining us too for the final ride in. Well done mate for coming out for this final ride in. Chapeau!
Looking forward to the final day with mixed emotions, but in general...... Happy days.
On the bus to Evry, near Paris - with mixed emotions!!