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The New Sport of Big Ringing

The New Sport of Big Ringing Big ringing should become a sport in its own right. We should have a big ring club and you tick off all the UK climbs that have been done in the big ring. Rosedale Chimney Bank being near the top of that list. The Alps are a different story though, having now managed the Semnoz from both sides, the only way I can realistically attempt “big ring” challenges is to get to the climb in as good a shape as possible. At 2000m and over 12 miles long, the Col de la Madeleine was a step too far and I was beaten. However, todays agenda was the Col de la Forclaz, from the Versonne side. It’s a mere tickler at 8km long but tops out at 15% and although there are 2 slightly easy bits, the actual climbing bits never go below 9%. It’s a tough climb but the one I have done most often and have stats for. In May, I time trialled it in a handicap race so had others to chase, and it was pretty cool at that time of year. On fresh legs, 32.30 was my fastest ascent. Having climbed it 4 times in May, I had tried to start on the big ring but gave up after less than 1k as its only going to end in tears. Today I was confident, loaded the Garmin pacer up with a 31.30 rider, an average of 9.6 mph and it was not long until I was screaming in pain, heart rate above time trial effort and on the verge of packing in…..and that was after 2 mins. It’s a tough climb with the start between 11-12%. I was in the hurtbox for the afternoon so cracked on. With 1 mile to go I was still in the game, still in the big ring although had to engage the 25 over the 15% bits, but was 0.15 miles behind the pacer. Through Montmim there is a slight descent which got me back ahead then more big ring action through the last 1k at 12-13% and held the lead. Came in a 31.20, a new PB and another Big Ring Col ticked off. The descent the other side was pretty quick, averaging 32mph for 5 miles, but the bottom of the descent is Talloires, where CP 3 of the tour TT was. Its nice to ride over the painted roads, and a funny arrow pointed Contador in the opposite direction. The locals must have not liked him. At the bottom, a quick U turn and back up the Forclaz, again in the big ring, on the easier side…..So today was big ring action from both sides.!!!

12 August 2009


  • Greg

    If you come down of the back of the Petit San Bernard, right after the opening 3 switchbacks you'll see another 'note' to contador. In yellow a big Unt(c) written on the ground... Add in the massive EPO!! on the ground just as you go up cormet du Roseland and you get the felling the locals weren't totally impressed.

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