Day 8 – It's Time For The Crazy Train…
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Compared to some of the previously brutal stages, day 8 looked
on paper to be a fairly straight forward stage for this year's
battle hardened Fireflies. Only one major climb and a very steady
6% gradient for approximately 28km. Long, slow and draining.
All (still baby smooth?) legs were very achey this morning and
once again high temperatures added to the intensity of challenge.
There was little time to warm up before we were straight into the
ascent up the Col de la Cayolle. The long climb proved to be much
more challenging than expected. Luke & Ed were heading up at a
very good pace however Luke struggled, feeling like his legs were
working too hard and was constantly searching for more gears. As
the riders climbed up through the cliff lined walls of the valley
we experienced some of the most beautiful scenery seen so far on
this years tour. With the Fireflies spread across the length of the
climb Ed & Luke arrived at the last 200m. As Luke switched gear
to sprint up the last section he realised he had been in the big
ring gear all the way up leaving him exhausted. A quick 2 mins to
recover and we descended back down the slope to help other
Fireflies up the final 2km.
A beautiful descent, one of the best so far, brought us to a
rushed lunch stop of a very authentic local delicacy … Chicken
After Lunch Stu & Luke joined the express train to the finish.
This has been nicknamed the 'crazy train' because of the speed that
the single file group of riders travel at, which can drain ones
energy extremely quickly. The train started with approximately 22
riders, at the front of which Stu injected the pace as he does
best. The crazy train reached speeds of up to 56kmph along the
flats as we swept through the dramatic scenery, bringing us to the
hotel at a pleasantly early finish time.
Meanwhile Ed used his strong legs to help other riders down the
final pass, giving them a draught which sped them back to the
hotels faster than they would otherwise be able to.
Overall, a very fast paced day, with stunning scenery and ending
with a slope off to find a French Bar to watch the England match
Top Speed: 76kmph
Total Distance: 122km