Friday, December 28, 2012

France 2012 Part Four

In this part of France, the Ariege department, there are war memorials everywhere. Many are from WW1. I would imagine that the entire male population of some of these towns died. Here is yours truly next to a memorial. I am pretty sure this was on the way up to the Goulier Ski Station.

In the cabins in Vicdessos, we have washers available. I always choose to hand wash. The washers are tiny and take hours to finish their cycles. No dryers however, so we always use the clotheslines for drying. Here I am flying the Illini colors in rural France. One of my favorite jerseys, for obvious reasons.

The next ride was one I had done last year. We rolled down to Tarascon, then up to Bompas, do the Pas du Solumbrie, then a harrowing descent to Les Cabannes, and up the Plateau de Beille. As I was looking through my journal I had an interesting line in there - it said "I am really starting to wonder why I do this to myself". I wrote that in my journal because it was ungodly hot that day. Everyone was taxed quite a bit to get up Plateau de Beille. Analyzing my Garmin data, I was happy to see that I held my heartrate in the 140's up PDB with not much discomfort. My left ham cramped about 2/3 of the way up but I worked it out. I was going to just turn right around and head down PDB but I decided to take a moment and get my crap together a bit. Good choice. Here we are just before Pas du Solumbrie taking a "natrual" break.

I have mentioned before that this area of France is very poor. This picture says it all. Some resourceful farmer took an electrical resistor and used it for his fenceline.

They have different types of animals there. This type of shorthorn cattle is pretty prominent in the Ariege region. Must work well on grass and grazing.

Here is the link to the ride via Garmin GPS.  You can see that the ride was at 100 degrees for much of the time.
Garmin Ride data for today:
Saddle time: 3 hr. 49 min. 25 sec.
Ascent: 5548 feet
Heartrate: 124 bpm average
RPM: 71 average
Total distance: 40.88 miles
Calories spent - 1391 - (this is not remotely close to my actual calories expended)
Speed: 10.7 mph average
Max Speed: 46 mph
Max Heartrate: 151 bpm


Carl from Chicago said...

When I was in France I was also struck by the presence of so many WW1 war dead memorials.

Your tour pictures are great and I don't know how you can do that in the blazing sun.

I talked to a friend of mine about a recent bike movie called 'premium rush' and they said the scenes were amazing but not realistic because no one could ride a bike that hard for that long and I just laughed and said I knew someone who could

Carl from Chicago said...

Also would be interesting to know you normal heart rate for comparison. Probably in the 40's?

Dan from Madison said...

The heat was absolutely crushing and relentless. Even though it was 100 degrees, it felt hotter because when you get toward the tops of the mountains, you clear out of the trees and get baked from three directions - the ground radiating up, the sun down, and the rock walls from the sides. It is like being in a microwave. You lose sometimes 5-10 pounds on days like this. I would never go on a ride like this in that sort of heat without support, i.e. people watching you.

My sitting pulse is typically around 42. When I go to the doctor for a physical he always asks me if I am on heart meds then looks at my notes and says "oh yea you are the crazy cyclist".

Dan from Madison said...

What is totally nuts is that compared to a pro cyclist I am a total chump.

They are starting to do studies on pro cyclists and other distance athletes who routinely keep their heart rates very high for very long periods of time and are starting to notice damaging trends to their health in later years after competing, drugs notwithstanding.