So, just a few hours to go before we embark on stage 1 of Haute Route Pyrenees. We been briefed this evening and fed well. At 7.30 tomorrow morning we start in Pau with a 148km stage ahead of us. Two big climbs, Col de Labays and Col de Marie Blanque will give us 2700m of upward challenge. Around 350 riders are heading to bed now and it looks like we’ll wake to a beautiful day.
Day 1 of events like this is all about staying calm and not pushing too hard too early. With so much anticipation and preparation the excitement of starting something like this can easily encourage riders to go too hard too soon with inevitable consequences later in the day as those early efforts take their toll. We’ve all got to temper our efforts and keep in mind that we have a big week ahead of us. I know only too well how easy it is to go too hard on the first day and to pay the price dearly with huge time losses on the final climb of the day due to bad pacing. I just hope I manage heed my own advice! The beginning of this event is very exciting and it takes discipline to keep the efforts controlled. Some riders, myself included, will use power meters to help ‘cap’ and regulate efforts, other will ned to do it more by feel.
Tomorrow will also be a day of discovery as all the various fitness levels of the riders manifest themselves on the road and we all become aware of where we rank in the peloton. After a flat ‘neutralised’ first few kilometres we will be released to race and as soon as there is a significant rise in the road the peloton will start to fragment into it’s various levels. At this point we’ll start to discover who our rivals are likely to be for the week as we look around at who we are riding with after the ‘selection’ has taken place.
Time to sleep now, everything is ready, come on legs, show the Pyrenees what you can do!
You can track riders in the event live at https://www.hauteroute.org/live