March 31st 2021
For the second time in my life, my birthday coincided with New Bike Day. The first time was in 1993 and you can see proof of that on the “About Us” page on this website.
Usually, your first ride on a new bike should be an easy spin as your body needs to adapt to the slightly changed position. However… there was never any doubt that todays ride was going to be anything else than a full on PR attack on the climb to Granier. Putting the new bike to the test was obviously the main reason. However, going through my Strava history, I also seem to have developed the habit of trying to better one of my PR’s on my birthday, just to prove that the age isn’t slowing me down (yet).
The climb from Aime to Granier is one of my favourite climbs of the region. Measuring 8.5km and with a very steady gradient of 6-7%, it’s an ideal climb to test yourself. Find a steady pace from the bottom of the climb, try to maintain it for the first 7K and then go flat out after the last hairpin.
As I approached the start of the climb, my Strava Live Segments feature kicked in on my Wahoo GPS. It’s a feature I’ve been quite reluctant to use as I knew it would undoubtedly cause me a great deal of pain and suffering. But today for the first time, I made full use of it. I attacked hard from the start, building up a 15 second lead in the first 500 meters. The gap then stayed steady for the next kilometer or so, which had me fearing that my six month younger self would put up more of a fight than I had expected.
But after passing through the village of Villarolland after 2 kilometers, my lead started to grow to 30 seconds. By the time I reached Tessens, halfway up the climb I was pushing 45 seconds. I’m not sure whether it was because of the legs (I have been riding in the Alps for a good 8 months now), the new bike, or just the placebo effect of a new bike, but I did have the feeling I could push a larger gear through some steeper sections of the climb. I still had enough in the tank to churn out a full on sprint in the last kilometer and managed to beat my PR by a full minute and 20 seconds.
Having achieved that particular goal, I was now eager to test the bike on the descent. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by its excellent handling and sharp cornering. Safe to say I ended the ride happy as a 4-year old that got a new toy from Santa. Bring on summer !