How to Change Cycling Culture

What’s happening in cycling right nowCycling Ascents

So the whole USADA Lance Armstrong exposure thing is a pretty big deal right now, not only in cycling, but also in the global media.  The USADA have done an amazing thing for cycling, and it’s great to see that others, and not just those who have been caught are adding their voice too.  Jonathan Vaughters, Paul Kimmage, Bike Pure, David Millar, the @UCI_Overlord (Not Pat McQuaid), and Michael Ashenden for example have all been fighting their own battles in parallel to the USADA,  and helping the cause of clean cycling.  But there are many, many, more within cycling who are keeping quiet, or some who are trotting out some pretty pointless or just incorrect statements about the whole thing.  Continue reading “How to Change Cycling Culture”

Lance Considers new means of Revenue

Lances New Olive Oil dressing with testosterone
Now that Lance's future income is uncertain, he moves into new markets with the help of Dr.Ferrari's Olive Oil and Testosterone receipe

Tour de France Route Rumours

Cycling AscentsThere have been a few rumours floating round about the 2013 Tour de France route – especially related to how Alpe D’Huez will feature in the 100th edition next year.  The organisers of the Tour, ASO, release snippets of the route over time (the first three stages have already been confirmed), but as time goes on, more details leak out about what the full route may look like.  If you want to see a real in-depth analysis of where all the stages are likely to be, check out the Velowire site – this guy has really spent a lot of time on this; down to finding out whether local hotels are substantially booked in order to back up his stage route claims! (as there are many many people involved in organising the Tour, ASO will book hotel rooms along the route for their staff way in advance).

So, back to the Alpe – the first (and most likely) rumour is that there will be a stage starting in the town of Gap, and making it’s way over to Alpe D’Huez via the Col D’Ornon.  After that, it wont finish up the Alpe, but carry on!  The riders will head out of the back of Alpe D’Huez and then continue on up the Col de Sarennes. This then comes out further along the valley, where they’ll head back towards Bourg D’Oisans and then climb up Alpe D’Huez again for the finish!

The next rumour, reported by a Belgian newspaper (and less likely in my opinion) is that Alpe D’Huez will host the last stage of the tour, instead of the traditional finale in Paris.  While this would create an open race, right to the line, it would make the logistics around the podium presentations and general massive crowd / corporate / press presence difficult.  This is because getting a lot of people up to the top of a mountain is not easy (you just have to live here on a Saturday during the ski season to know that!).

Whatever the actual 2013 Tour de France route is (which will be confirmed by ASO on the 24th October), it’s going to be an amazing experience this year – a ‘normal’ Alpe D’Huez stage has an incredible atmosphere; 2013 will be even better than usual I’m sure!  Just make sure you get here early…..

Col de Sarennes

Cycling AscentsThis week I decided to ride over the Col de Sarennes – the ‘back’ way up to Alpe D’Huez, as it has been a while since I’ve been over that way, and it’s one of my favourite rides.  As I’m not training for any races now, I decided that I’d take it easy, and bring along the camera as there are often some great views to capture up there.  I wasn’t disappointed Continue reading “Col de Sarennes”

Paul Kimmage Defense Fund

Cycling Ascents After seeing a few articles pop up on various sites, I’ve decided to give some money to a complete stranger.  Well, I don’t know the guy personally, but I’ve read his book, Rough Ride a number of times.  The ‘guy’ is Paul Kimmage, and for those of you who don’t know, he’s an ex-pro cyclist who ended his career and then wrote a book in order to expose the level of doping that was (and perhaps still is) prevalent in cycling.  Continue reading “Paul Kimmage Defense Fund”

Exploring New Climbs…

Cycling AscentsNow that my ‘race season’ has finished, I’m scouring Strava for new routes and climbs I can do before the winter approaches and my choice of rides is severely limited.  For those of you who haven’t used Strava before, it’s a web based tool where you can track your rides by downloading GPS data and then compare your times over routes and climbs to other people.  Continue reading “Exploring New Climbs…”

Alpe D’Huez Time Trial

Cycling AscentsI’ve lived in Bourg D’Oisans for over a year and a half, and ridden up Alpe D’Huez many times, but I’d never done one of the weekly summer time trials up Alpe D’Huez.  I finally got around to it last week, and after getting my race number and timing chip Continue reading “Alpe D’Huez Time Trial”

Encountering Wildlife

Cycling AscentsI was out on a ride yesterday – just seeing how my legs were after a few recovery rides since my hard week last week (I’m glad to report they are back to normal!).  After a quick blast up the Col D’Ornon, I decided that would do for the day and came back down, but added on a little warm down detour that goes down some small local back roads.  They dont have any through traffic (but bike and walkers can get through o.k.) so they are usually very quiet. Continue reading “Encountering Wildlife”

I Survived La Marmotte!

Cycling Ascents175km and 4950 metres of climbing….La Marmotte is the race round here and probably also top of the list for any cyclist who rides sportives in Europe.  I just about survived (I had my doubts on the second half of Alpe D’Huez!), but overall it was a great experience, and I also enjoyed doing it – it wasn’t one of those experiences where you say, ‘I’m glad I’ve done it but never again!’.

It all started at 4 a.m. in the morning for me…. Continue reading “I Survived La Marmotte!”

Riding ‘La Vaujany’ Sportive

Cycling AscentsI’d signed myself up for the La Vaujany  (a local 175km sportive) with my cycling club quite a while back.  The idea was that being the week before the Marmotte , the big daddy of all sportives (which I’m also doing), it would be a good warm up.  I say warm up, as even though the distance is the same, on paper the Vaujany has 3850 metres of vertical climbing, while the Marmotte has over 5000 metres.  So in theory, the Vaujany should be easy.  No?  No.

Continue reading “Riding ‘La Vaujany’ Sportive”

Riding Alpe D’Huez

Cycling AscentsLiving 2 minutes ride from the bottom of the Alpe D’Huez climb is pretty cool – but I ride up it at lot less than you probably think.  Most of the time I go up only part-way and then head off along a ride the locals call ‘Les Balcons’ (the balconies) – which gives great views of the valley and the mountains.

The reason for not riding it that often is two-fold….

Continue reading “Riding Alpe D’Huez”

Training for La Marmotte

Cycling AscentsSo as the Marmotte sportive is looming (and the Vaujany, the week before), I thought I should check out the route that I’ll be doing on race day at least once beforehand.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, La Marmotte is the sportive – the original and supposedly the hardest in Europe.  Continue reading “Training for La Marmotte”

First ride of the Madeleine

Cycling AscentsAfter an easy day on the bike (the weather and the previous days riding made this essential!) the next target on the list was the Col de la Madeleine.  I had never ridden this col before, so was only too happy to go along with my guests to experience this climb.  The Madeleine is situated in the ‘next’ valley north from Bourg D’Oisans – and to get there you go over the Col du Glandon.  When we set off in the van it was raining and cloudy, but as we came up and over the Glandon, and down the other side, we ended up with sunshine and blue skies – result!  Continue reading “First ride of the Madeleine”

Col du Galibier with the Aussies

Cycling AscentsSo after tackling La Berarde the previous day, our guests (a very friendly bunch of Aussies) wanted to go for the big one – the Galibier.  Luckily, the road had opened only the day before so we were clear for a shot at the highest pass in the area, at 2645 metres (although you knew that, given my banner picture above!). Continue reading “Col du Galibier with the Aussies”

First Guests of 2012 – ride to La Berarde

Cycling AscentsOur first guests of the year arrived at the end of May, and no sooner had they unloaded the bikes they were off up Alpe D’Huez while there was still daylight!  The following day, we decided that the ride up to La Berarde would be a good one to start with – not too hard or too long, but with excellent views and a nice village at the end with a number of ride up to La Berardecafes/restaurants to have a relaxing drink or bite to eat with a view of the mountains.  Continue reading “First Guests of 2012 – ride to La Berarde”

Interval Training (with a difference)

Cycling AscentsI never would have thought when I first started doing intervals that one day the nearest uphill ‘slope’ to me for interval training would be Alpe D’Huez!  As it’s only a couple of minutes ride it is literally the closest place for me to go for hill intervals (that should probably be ‘mountain’ intervals!)  Continue reading “Interval Training (with a difference)”