The Pain Cave

I’ve been following a program of indoor cycling using an app called FulGaz, 21 rides in 21 days to celebrate the Tour de France. Two thirds done, it’s averaged about an hour and 20 minutes per day. Not a ton of time in the world of going out for a bike ride, but still a lot of effort since there’s no stopping, no coasting, no downhills. Just pedaling away trying to generate as many watts as possible. I can sustain a little more than two watts per kg of body weight. By contrast, the pros are doing 4.5, and in the big mountains they’ll get over six for a few minutes.

I don’t have a fancy smart trainer, but the app shows me video of the French countryside while I spin along and estimates my virtual speed based on a sensor attached to my wheel. So an effort that might be worth 20mph on a flat road is only worth 5mph on a steep section of alpine climb. That river of sweat is what it took to get up Mt Ventoux last night, the longest stage of my Tour. I don’t have the algorithm set up just right, so it took me quite a bit longer than when I did it four years ago in real life.

Update : Last night I completed the final leg of the series with a painfully slow crawl up the Alpe d’Huez. Proud to have gotten through all the stages, but looking forward to being back in the water tomorrow!!

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