Big Mountains Need Small Hills

I plan to cycle up a mountain in three weeks time. And I will because I know that, by then, I will be strong and fit enough, if only just.

The last time I did anything similar was six years ago (!) but I managed to reach the minimum level of fitness on a quite tight training schedule. I was so impressed with myself that I wrote a book about it and how you can probably do the same or something equivalent.

In 2010, we cycled from Paris to Venice and took in quite a few mountains, actually. I didn’t know then if I could actually manage it, although I had climbed some pretty big hills in my training rides. Now I know, even though I’m six years older, that I can climb that mountain.

This time we’ll be tackling the Col Du Tourmalet, one of the iconic rides in the Tour de France. I’ve driven up it and even bought the T shirt, but I’ve never worn it because I’m not entitled to. Yet. Come September 10th, and I’ll be wearing it with pride.

But if I had tried to climb even a big hill just a couple of months ago I would probably have failed (or walked). It helps that I’ve done some quite strenuous walking in recent months, actually, but the main reason I can be optimistic now is that I’ve been riding up quite a few somewhat smaller hills. We don’t have mountains in Jersey but we do have a lot of nice, steep hills, as well as some slightly longer ones that are more like the gradients we’ll encounter in the Pyrenees.

So it will be a strain and I won’t be fast but I’ll be as ready as I can be without actually living in the mountains – and with a mere six week training programme.

I’ll let you know how much it hurts, but also how great it feels to be on top of that mountain!


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