Tunnel vision. That is how Rory described riding Alpe d’Huez. There were so many people out on the road that he often felt like he was riding through a tunnel of cheers and flags. After helping Dan over the first two major climbs of the day, Rory was pretty cooked for the last climb. He said he just put his head down and marched through the last 8kms as best he could. Brutal. During our chat tonight he was pretty quiet, so that is a sure sign of fatigue.
Rory and his team are taking it day by day. No use in worrying about tomorrow when you have to race today, so that has been their motivation. Their group is professional and focused on the team goals.
This morning Rory asked his followers to post any questions and here are a couple that relate to today:
How hard is it for non-climbers to get through a stage like yesterday or today?
Great question! In the past 48 hours we have seen many of the top sprinters either quit or miss the time cut, so one can see that it is not an easy feat to make it over these mountains, especially with the blistering pace set by the GC leaders. Non-climbers know they are going to have a hellish day. Plain and simple. Rory had his best 60-minute and 90-minute power numbers of the entire year today and he was just hanging on for dear life. It is all about survival and making sure you eat and drink enough to stay strong for the days to come. A lot of people get lost in the suffering and forget about proper hydration and nutrition, but it is imperative for all, especially non-climbers, to take care of their bodies during a stage like today.
My favourite corner on l’alpe d’Huez: Irish corner, of course!
Stay tuned for Stage 12 stories…