Thursday, July 24, 2014

Saint Lary : Saint Emilion

Our third night in a car park in Saint Lary. Last evening an operatic style concert was the sound to sleep by or not. In the morning an easy 55 minute run. This evening I will try for another 30 minutes although my eye is weeping from a big squirt of washing liquid in it.



The drive from Saint Lary to Saint Emilion could have been 30 minutes quicker. A motorhome driver got stuck in a tunnel despite all the size precautions the township could take. We did a quick u-turn and followed a local. Next problem was my ongoing argument with the SatNav. I've long since given up on relying on it (instead some google maps research and a photographic memory a former orienteer develops). Still the heart was in the mouth until I spiked the Motel. I did take a quick deviation down a line of grapes off the beaten track to right the situation.

Tmoz on to Bergerac for the stage finish...one more night sleeping in the Citroen C3 Picasso.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Saint Lary Soulan Pla dÁdet : Strength Hills

Tried to check into the new hotel in Carcassonne on Monday noon...they lost my booking!! No panic, I slept in the car for a couple of hours, supermarket car park. When Minnie was done with the walled Cite we moved on to Saint Lary Soulan.

As it turned out we parked our car on the side of the course in town and a quiet little spot (at night anyway, but not last night, a concert). We ate pizza for the fifth straight night, drank nice red wine and marvelled at the fountain and the every changing colours and volume of thrust into the night sky.

At 4am I temporarily misplaced the car key. We spent an hour looking for the little thing. Having found it we went back to sleep in the car and woke up to the sound of people racing to the shops open at 830am.

Up the mountain. I ran along the course and after 2km started the ascent of Pla DÁdet, 10km at 9% average gradient starting at 800m asl, rising to 1680m asl. It was a leisurely run up hill. I was taking photos of parapenting, the camping cars lined on the route (not many, nowhere to park), saying bonjour to the French, bravo to the Spanish. One bravo went to Mr Spanish riding Orbea and dressed in full kit, passing me as I took a photo. That was it, game changer. Next minute I was at just below my maximum threshold some 15-20 metres back. For me it wasn't a race...I had no intention of passing him. I just sat there and relaxed, running at around 4:30/km, faster on the flatter sections, slower on the steep pinches. The image doesn't show a false flat just after Soulan or the downhill in the 8th kilometre where I got to.

We travelled in convoy for the next 6km. He could sense me there and tried to drop me on the flats several times. I just ran my tempo and he came back to me...eventually he cracked. The pace slowed so much I was nowhere near threshold. I stopped, took a photo of my Spanish friend and let him ride off, just 2km shy of the summit. I retraced my steps back down the mountain slowly but faster than I went up. 97 minutes for the morning. Another 17 minutes in the afternoon.

Minnie and I took a sky gondola back to the top a few hours later 5 euro each and a bargain. We walked around, took in the views and back down on gondola again.

In town we found tv outside a bar and watched Michael Rogers grab a win on Bagneres de Luchon. Then a second run, more pizza and wine.

Today is just plain crazy all over town and on the mountain. Two bus full of Gendarme left for up the course at 7am. I ran an easy 60 minutes this morning, another 30 or so will be done after the tour. Big screen tv in town. Still tempted to do Gondola to the top for the vibe or escape the vibe down here.

Maybe Pau for the start tmoz. I am more tempted straight on to St Emilion.

Sitting on 130km+ for this week but wishing for more speed work. Will have to wait until I get home as usual.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tu Seras Mon Fils (You will be my son) ; 4 x Power Hills

The theme of wine and movie film locations continues for this year and our Tour de France. On Thursday we will stay in Saint Emilion where 'Tu Seras Mon Fils' was shot. What I loved about this movie aside from the clever drama and script was the real son checking the vines while running. We don't have to miss any of the tour as it is quite near Bergerac, the finish on Friday.

What we do need is a choice or decision of what to see, logistics, escape plan for the next days. Anything up a mountain is problematic due to evacuation of the riders, teams and spectators cause huge traffic jams into the next morning...decision taken to spend another night here in Carcassonne, watch start, travel to Saint Lary for the mountain top finish, then onto Saint Emilion (probably skipping Pau-Hautacam stage)

Most of the teams are here in Carcassonne for the rest day. Cannondale, BMC and AG2R I spied on morning run including 4 x 75 second power hills.

Nimes : Carcassonne : Recovery runs

Left Cavaillon early, there were thunderstorms. Drove to Nimes where the weather was clear (raining now as I watch on tv) and did 25 minutes taking in vibe from the arrivee. Drove to Carcassonne, walked around the Old Cite briefly, checked into motel. After race on tv a 60 minute run. Neither venue conducive to speed work, will have to wait until tmoz.

Some images.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

World Masters Athletics Championships Lyon 2015 update

On this trip I've been scoping for next year and the championships. Driving through the outskirts of Lyon I didn't like what I saw again. I've decided to go without car for both the WMA and a pre-championships seven day taper camp. I moved my Lyon hotel into town and near TGV station. It's a short metro ride to the main venue or a 6km warm up.

For the pre-WMA taper camp I decided on Annecy and in centre of town, very near the lake, TGV station and with kitchen. Annecy has a direct train connection to Lyon. Annecy has a lovely lake for cooling off, all the bike paths I need but also some large expanses of grass for soft surface intervals and strides.

For the Tour de France 2015 I know the route starts in Utrecht, travels anti-clockwise, Pyrenees first, Alps last including Alpe d'Huez and a time trial in Macon is the penultimate stage...at least that's what the well informed rumours are. So if I do see the tour next year Annecy is in the right spot. If I am right Fete du Lac Annecy should be on August 1 2015. Some images.

Apt : Long Run : Market

Apt has the largest street market in all of Provence. We stayed there a few nights in 2011. My long run took me along Veloroute du Cavalon in both directions (Pont Julien and Forlacquier). Basically flat. I ran for 85 minutes all up with two stops for water (it was over 30 degrees). I was in trouble early in the run due to heat stress, found a discarded bottle of mineral water for on the head and a fountain near the market to save me from trouble (multiple water on head).

Minnie braved the market longer than I and actually got lost, couldn't get out. Survived on tasting cheese and rock melon.

Tomorrow we are skipping the tour again even if it passes out front of the hotel in Cavaillon. Going to the walled Cite of Carcassonne and will watch the tour from there on motel tv, awake next morning on the tour rest day where we are staying. Not sure where from there...somewhere in the Pyrenees sleeping in back of Picasso again.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ACT Masters Athletics XC Championships

At Stromlo the annual XC championships were held today. Will have to wait for a report. From what I saw everyone ran as expected. Keith again another solid effort and similar time to last year. Weather for Canberra said it was 10 degrees with 45kph winds. More wind than I recall for the last two years makes the time by Keith quite good. I can't see that he had anybody to run with.

Steve and Jane trained, both solid efforts

Report and images from Steve (thanks):

First to the big story of the day…Keith runs great time in cold and blustery conditions.

Lap 1 – 9.16….looking strong and staying with pack of 4 including Lance and Anthony Kennedy?

Lap 2 – 9.23 for 18.39…just drifting off the pack by about three seconds…need to keep pace for lap 3

Lap 3 – 9.39 for 28.18…in no-man’s land now, guy at finish line remarks to me that KL is running as quick as the guys in front but gap now too big to cross

Lap 4 – 9.48 for 38.06...still going strong starting to stoop into wind

Lap 5 – 7.45 for 45.51…well done and good finish.

A few of the girls ran.