It’s the day after La Limousin, and I’m doing the rando at Bonnac La Cote. While I’m signing on I see that there is also a “chrono” option. It’s an off-road climb of the ‘Col de la Sablonnade’ against the clock. I just can’t stop myself, I sign up for it.
Here’s how it works. Riding the 40km option at “allure libre” (your own speed), you follow the red arrows. After 11km there will be a split, and those who have signed up for the chrono race up the col.
The grand depart is a fairly steady affair, so I use the first 11km to spin my legs. Suprisingly, although they have 155km of road in them from yesterday they don’t feel too bad. It’s the brain that is having trouble. I’ve forgotten my bottle, my mitts are still in the van, i’ve gone for long sleeves, and I’m far too hot. I bounce off a few rocks, that seems to bring me around a little.
Arriving at the start of the chrono section I find a short queue of riders waiting to start. I take a pee while I try to work out where I want to be. I don’t want to be behind riders who look slow ‘cos I might get held up, and I don’t want fast looking riders behind me as it’ll be demoralising. After a few minutes I just get in the queue anyway.
It’s a simple start. One foot on the ground, the timekeeper counts you down, and away you go for a few kilometres of pain. The faster you go, the sooner the pain ends, and if you don’t feel sick, you aint tryin hard enough, I tell myself. “3 – 2 – 1 – partez”, with only thirty second intervals between riders I can see the rider ahead as we race around the edge of a lake.
There’s some “whoopy doopy” stuff before we get onto the climb, I’m gaining on the rider in front so I’m able to use him to see which way we go. Onto the climb, he’s not far ahead. Now I’m caught by a rider who storms past, climbing like a man posessed. I can’t match that!
The ascent of the Col de la Sablonnade is agony, steep rocky sections with false flats to sap your will. I’m goin’ OK, and although I got caught my my 30second man I go on to catch 9 riders! The line comes into sight. I sprint for an imaginary one beyond it. That hurt.
There’s a feed station just a wobble away, I gulp down some juice and water. All of a sudden I feel absolutely exhausted. On the remainder of the ride I find it hard to make any pace at all, no matter because the scenery is fabulous. I stop to admire the view a few times.
Back at the start I check the results. 18th, but 3rd in >50s category!!! Not bad for a tired bloke. I’m happy with that.