Sep 15, 2012

Distance today = 50.14 km; Total distance = 11,652.26 km; Location = Spencer – 38 47.573′ N, 81 20.080′ W; Start time = 0813, Finish time = 1558


It was a classic day, but also a tough one.

I began on a very quiet back road. It got quieter and narrower, yet was still paved with recent hotmix, so was perfect for running (and even better for cycling). And the forests were great.

Then it turned to dirt, then to two tire tracks, then to potholes filled with mud. When it wasn’t like that, it was covered in very rough sharp rocks, which were incredibly uneven under my feet. On top of all that, it was extremely hilly. If I wasn’t struggling uphill, I was trying to check my descent.

I finally met up with Carmel on a more main road, although the traffic was still fairly minimal. However, the damage had been done. Although I enjoyed the earlier part of the day, it left my legs a little shattered. I’m looking forward to a good night of sleep to help them recover.

The milestone for the day is a bit different. One year ago to the day, Dave and I took the challenge known as Le Cingles du Mont Ventoux (translation: The Idiots of Mont Ventoux). This amounts to cycling to the top of Mont Ventoux in France three times in one day – from each of the directions one can approach the summit. Mont Ventoux is an extinct volcano, and is one of the legendary and most feared climbs in the Tour de France. Our challenge involved a total of nearly 15,000 feet of vertical ascent, over a total of 136 km.

As a single day effort, it’s up there with an Ironman triathlon and the Run to the Sun (a 58 km run from sea level to the top of the Haleakala volcano on Maui, at over 10,000 feet in elevation). I have completed all these things, but felt my three ascents of Mont Ventoux was as comprehensive an effort as any I have managed. All three ascents took less than two hours (1:59, 1:57, 1:56) – I was really pleased to finish it in such good shape; so much so that I ran to the summit the next day, as one does.

Now I find myself knocking over 50 km plus each day for nearly two years – a very different kind of challenge. Mmmmmmm!