Bad Day at Bike Rock

You get impatient, because you’re only here for 5 weeks (‘only’!) and you want to make up for all those weeks and months you couldn’t get out on the bike because of the shitty weather.

So I did the ride up to Fresse on the 12th, and felt great about it afterwards. Crucially, I avoided the final climb up the hill to Auxelles by cadging a lift, but I still looked forward to doing the ride again on the 15th, three days later.  The various apps I use don’t agree on the altitude climbed. Cyclemeter reported that first ride at 350 metres ascended, whereas Strava, when I did it again on the 15th, reported it at 655m. Some of the discrepancy relates to that final ride up to Auxelles, which I did on the Thursday, but that climb is 140 metres, not 305, so I don’t know where I stand on the climbing stats.

My legs agree with Strava, though. I was much tireder after the second attempt, which I put down to the extra 140m. So it was a little bit crazy to do it again on the 17th, the third time within six days.

It was also crazy to do it again after spending that morning burning bundles of wood that had been sitting around in the garden at Auxelles for about 40 years or so. They were proper faggots of sticks, about a metre long, tied up in bundles, and stacked under a tarpaulin along with (yet more) roof tiles, and some half-rotten planks. I spent about 4 hours that morning burning about half of these. It was a hot day (over 30° C), and the fire was so intense you could feel the heat from it from about 50 metres away. I sweated a lot.

This is day two of the faggot burning. From where I'm sitting you could still feel the heat of the fire
This is day two of the faggot burning. From where I’m sitting you could still feel the heat of the fire

Then came lunch, which was a bit on the light side considering I was about to head off the Fresse again. Still, I took three gels (two PowerGel and one another brand I found in Decathlon) and two bottles of sports drink along with an extra litre on my back of isotonic zero calorie sports drink. I thought this would be enough, but I was feeling tired even before I’d finished the downhill bit to Ronchamp. I stopped a few times for a rest and a gel, but my legs felt bad all the way around, and the final 140m up to Auxelles was very bad indeed.

I felt so stiff the next day (yesterday), I could barely move. Still, we burnt the rest of the faggots and I shifted the rotten planks to the compost. They were mostly compost already.

So it turns out I can’t do the ride up to Fresse three times in a week. Note to self. So I think I’ll only tackle it one more time before we go home, and I’m reserving my final go at the Ballon d’Alsace for the final week.

Legs still hurting this morning, and still felt a bit dehydrated. Also, I’m never using that water backpack again. Hate it!

2 responses to “Bad Day at Bike Rock”

  1. I’ve found that a change from cycling to say hill walking can create disproportionate leg aches. Whats the buzzword? DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

    Good luck with the Ballon.


    • Agreed on the leg aches when you switch to hill walking. I’m still suffering pains from the 4-hour hilly hike followed two days later by another, shorter, hunt for a hidden lake. It’s the impact of descending on foot that gets me. Haven’t felt the same on the bike since.


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