Thursday, June 21, 2012


EACH Year i arrive back from the Tour de Suisse determined to lift my level of fitness . In past years having closed the winter quarters i would head to Seez , close to Bourg St Maurice in France and stay at the Auburge de Juenesse . Food there is excellent and plentiful so after a large breakfast i would take off for a day with as much as 300km before returning to load up with 2nds and 3rds . Rarely would i find that there wwas not enough to satisfy the hunger created by unremitting climbs in the area !

Could go on for pages about what is available but suffice to say that Seez at 650m and the Col d'Iseran at 2700m attacked a couple of times inb a day will improve your condition or break your spirit . Of course you could have it all go pear shape as it did one year . Several punctures in a short distance above Val d'isere really sent my internal thoughts spiralling out of control . Carrying 4 spare tubes and checking the interior of the tyre did not solve the problem that day .

Suffering from lack of funds due to once again being " cheated by Winter Employers " i am staying close to where i live in the Inntal . Certainly i will get the money due me , but once again , i have fallen victim of the " Zillertal Mafia "! That is what the locals call these people who prey on the tourist . Each of these businesses provide services to the Tourist industry , charging premium prices and then TRY to cheat their eemployees out of their " Dues "!  Fortunately there is an Organisation called the " Arbeiter Kammer " which handles cases such as this and will eventually recover the monies due . With out going into detail , it would appear i will get my monies sometime after this year's  " Le Tour " ! What do i do meanwhile , starve ?

Arriving back from the Tour de Suisse on Saturday i was up early Sunday to do what i promised myself last season . With riding around this area i have come to know where the steepest climbs are and so without too much effort i am able to get on to this 20% climb each morning . When i told my local bike shop owner , last season , that i had done this climb 6 times one afternoon , i am sure he thought i had had a touch of the sun . I went on to say that Next Season i would be doing 10 climbs each morning as a way to strengthen the muscles for the season . Whilst on the Giro d'Italia i didn't find any climbs that caused me concern , but i was also wondering how much better i could have done , had i followed my earlier plan .

This climb west of Reith in Alpbachtal is okay when the road is dry and there is light traffic . This morning due to heavy thunderstorms overnight  the road was covered with soil and gravel washed onto the road . After starting out at 6.30 i was into the fifth climb when i found that there was constant traffic in each direction . With the road little wider than a truck and having to pick a line through where the gravel had been cleared by the passing vehicles the situation became untenable and an early return for breakfast was the decision .

Sunday had been  a little easier , in that the road was clear but around 10.30 , so many cars were going up the climb to a chuch parade that i stopped at 12 ascents . Monday i repeated this with a little earlier start . Tuesday after 7 climbs , i saw a local race cyclist descending towards me , so decided to chase and finished up heading off to Stumm before making a visit to Innsbruck and Schwaz  on the way home . Wednesday with another 6.30 start i was able to get in 14 ascents before i wearied of the repetitions .

With the heavy rainfall overnight the roads have dried but there is a heavy cloudcover so will be off shortly for some flat running on the " Il Giro " using the 16 spoke Shimano wheels . These wheels do not like climbing strong climbs , but then they have done 100k in the 10 years i have used them . For the repetitions i have been using the Green bike that i took to the " Le Tour " last year with the 32 spoke wheels , but even then i am on 39 to 25 most of the climb . No doubt i will find little difficulty on the French Cols with this preparation .

Now all i need in the next week apart from training , is an infusion of funds to be able to get to Liege and survive 26 days on the road with my 15th riding of the route of the Tour de France !

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