Plateau de Beille
Plateau de Beille was so close to the campsite that I even contemplated riding it after yesterday’s Ordino Andorra ride.
Only briefly and then only before riding the Ordino.
Yesterday had been a hot, tough day in Andorra and I wondered if I had recovered sufficiently.
No, I’m not that jaded.
Besides, there’s no rest for the wicked and like brakes.
They’re for wimps. (Only, joking of course ?).
I drove down the narrow street under a large sign for the Les Cabannes boulangerie ‘PAIN’.
Was this an omen?
I sort of laughed to myself as I slowly melted in the heat.
Change into my granny gear
My KOM’s challenges and reducing GC riders to tears appetite had dwindled after previous disappointments, so no heroics today.
Engaging the ever-reliable index finger front derailleur, I changed into granny gear time (bike, not clothing ?).
To paraphrase ‘It’s the completing that counts not the winning’. (Well, sort of).
I was ready for the gruelling 7-8% welcome.
The Plateau de Beille gradient did not let up at all, but I am very glad to say I didn’t find the 117.4% section as suggested by the Veloviewer profile.
Even the hairpins which can offer some respite did not play today, they still went up.
The gradients varied between 12-14% but no drastic or draining changes.
I disciplined myself to maintain a 28-inch gear and resisted the temptation to change up on the rare occasions.
After 4Km I had drunk half of a 700ml bottle and wondered if my two full ones would be enough.
At the 5Km, another rider he casually passed me. We exchanged greetings, and he effortlessly pulled away up around the next corner.
I edged towards any shade I could find and maintained a steady rhythm with my one priority. Reach the summit.
It was all quiet but close to the end; I noticed the rider who had passed me; he looked back and saw me then carried on.
Odd, I thought, perhaps he had stopped for a reason a cyclist might.
The summit at last, and he came over to greet me, saying how surprised he was by my Brompton effort.
Kindly he had been making sure I was ok on the climb on such a hot day.
We chatted a bit more, then agreed on a café stop back in the village.
Off he went.
I chased in pursuit.
Yesterday was a case of racing past everyone full of adrenaline, today however, it was very different.
If I said that he left me in his dust, then that might give some impression that I witnessed his dust.
He disappeared as I frantically pedalled out my 98-inch gear on the 12% decline.
Even conserving my brake rubber in pursuit made no difference.
At the local café, we met up for the local Mountain Cola and talked about various climbs as we exchanged details.
Hopefully, we will catch up on Strava.
I rode the 1Km ride to my car, and he rode off on his 100Km leg back to Toulouse. Hmm!
Now refreshed, I thought of a second climb, but then I considered my options in the 40 degrees heat.
The fine balance.
Climbing a mountain on a hot day or, conversely, falling into the campsite pool?
I think I will choose – SPLOSH!
The Plateau de Beille climb was the toughest and hottest so far, but a great day.