While in California back in March for a spring training camp, which resulted in no improvement in fitness but some weight gain for sure, I rode with Clyde from the UK. I checked in with him recently and he forwarded me this entertaining summary of last season's cycling efforts. Good read. Update: Clyde sent me this link for a report of a guy who finished this super tough ride. It too is a good read with great images: http://lafugatravel.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/a-massif-day-out/
Great to hear from you. As it happens, I'm still an occasional reader of your blog, so I'd noticed some of the climbs you've been doing! Very impressed by your efforts on Kitt Peak.
I've had a pretty good cycling year. I ended-up doing quite a few sportives of between 80 - 130 miles around where I live in Sussex - and these events have electronically-timed Bronze/Silver/Gold standards that help to keep one pedalling when the distance starts to tell! They've also shown me that there are some pretty steep hills in Sussex, if you bother to seek them out. How are you at 20% gradients at the 87-mile point? I'm rubbish - although that particular one was only a quarter of a mile long (thank God...), so I got up it. Just.
My only real failure of the year was my trip to France in July to ride the second stage of last year's Etape du Tour. Despite starting in what I thought was quite a lot of kit for a mid-summer ride, because there were three moderately high climbs on the route, I wasn't prepared for summer to do a freak fast-forward to winter on the day of the ride. Along with about half of the just over 4000 starters, I abandoned at the first feed stop, with only 70km out of the 210km covered. It was freezing cold, pouring with rain, and into a massive headwind for the entire 70km - so I bailed and retreated to a warm gym with several hundred other refugees, where it took me over an hour to stop shaking. So much for central France in July. Definitely an 'inappropriate clothing' day. I've already entered for the first part of this year's edition, which is using the first of the Tour's Alpine stages that starts in Abbeville. Only three mountains to climb in about 90 miles - and literally no flat bits. I do sometimes wonder if this is sensible behaviour...