Col du Mont Cenis
Easy day needed.
The last three days provided the opportunity to reacquaint myself with climbs I had ridden in 2019.
My original plan was to have a jolly spin up them, so I could say I rode them solo and as part of a 12-month window.
No pressure, I had already bagged them.
What I forgot to consider, though, was my slightly competitive instinct of going for PB’s.
As the saying goes, “Once you can do the distance, the only challenge left is to do it quicker”.
Chasing PB’s had proved more exhausting than riding fresh climbs.
Climbing for three days and experiencing two restless nights because of thunderstorms and fireworks had left me jaded.
I was keen to maintain my climbing momentum, so I plumped for an easier climb which would add to my list of completed climbs.
Just under 10Km and a 5/10 with an average 7%, Col du Mont Cenis ticked the box.
The opening 1Km into a blustery headwind and 9% gradient was not the start I had been expecting.
The road was very wide and open, with a marked cycle lane. I may have crept out of on some hairpins. (Old TT mentality still there – take the best line).
With no roadworks, my ride wasn’t interrupted by fartlek sprints.
After the first salvo, 6% seemed to be the standard, but to make the 7% climb average rating 8 to 10s came into play.
Within 2Km of the summit, the wind stiffened to a side wind which chilled my sweat soaked top. Not quite the cooling I desired.
Climbing around a large bend, I could spot a church which, annoyingly, never seemed to get closer. (My struggle with a salvation that is out of reach, perhaps)
With the summit reached, it was time to don the descending top, more in keeping warm while I explored.
Col du Mont Cenis is where Hannibal may have crossed the Alps to attack Rome, but today it’s a popular path for walkers and cyclists. All groups were honoured.
I was time to head down, but then I saw the small auberge; the coffee smelt good, and the sandwiches appealed, so why not chill (in a different sense).