Raid Alpine – Day 3

Day 3 – missing from our original blog series as exhaustion crept in and time ran out. For completeness, I’ve compiled this from a few scribbled notes to support my hazy memory, as Col after Col, the days seemed to morph into one.

Today was to be our toughest so far. 75km, hilly from the outset, 2,200m climb and hot, hot, hot.

It was also the day when balance was a major problem for me.

I completed the first Col (22km with a climb of 600m) which was no easy task. It was apparent from early on that I just wasn’t going to complete today. The poor balance that I intermittently experience which usually responds well to Sinemet, didn’t respond today. Tiredness exacerbates symptoms of Parkinsons and stress doesn’t help either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not solely blaming Parkinson’s. This is a test of the fittest and neither my legs nor my lungs were not up to it today either.

Calling on our support team, I took the Campervan to the meeting point half way up the next Col and waited for the others. There were worse places to have to wait for them. The view was stunning marred only by the traffic noise from hundreds of motorbikes. Of course there were also hundreds of other cyclists of all shapes and sizes on all kinds of bikes, testing their fitness on some of the most scenic but busiest climbs the Alps have to offer.

The others had found this second Col extremely hard. It was exceptionally hot and I knew I wasn’t up to completing the rest of the climbs today, so I made the decision to rest up in the hope that I would feel stronger and more balanced tomorrow as a result. A strategy that worked well. I was joined by John W who by this time was suffering heat stroke and needed to rest and rehydrate before he could return to the saddle.

Chapeau to Claire, Roland and John A who completed the distance and climbs if not with ease, certainly with a smile on their faces – or was that a grimace?

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