One of the most impressive stories of Lance Armstrong’s dedication to winning is when after reaching the top of the Galibier in the freezing, cold rain, Lance looks at Johann and says, “I’m going to do it again, just so I know precisely.” (words may be paraphrased). Reconnaissance of the major climbs in the Tour is now a mandatory part of any rider’s training.

With Lance in my head, I took to the roads of the village of Mt. Tremblant doing a little recon of my own. I wanted to ride it so I knew it.

Now I do.

The ride itself, not too bad. It has a few tough, grinding climbs, a 10km (the out of an out and back) stretch with 8 hills of 10% grade, but in the whole very doable.  Comparing it to what I rode during the American Triple T, this is easier.  There is a long stretch along Highway 117 where I found myself just pumping the legs and looking down and carrying 38km/h.

Many people question the sanity of biking steady for six hours and after riding this course with its sweeping vistas, smooth newly paved roads, and multiple chances of speed (did I mention that my max speed on the course today was 73km/h), all I can say is, what else is there? Weeding the garden? Mowing the lawn? Trips to Home Depot? No way, gone by 7am home by 1pm, that’s what it’s all about.

After reconning, I did notice and consider two things about cycling and myself:

1. Trust the Effort: On that tough 10km stretch I was talking about I looked down and saw my average speed start dropping, rapidly, this frustrates me. I start getting into my head and being fatalist. But not today, today I chose to trust the effort. Put in the requisite effort and the time/speed, whatever, will work out. Sure enough, on the way back in I flew. My average speed started climbing again. This will be an important lesson for me to remember.

2. I Don’t Think: You would assume that with six hours of “me” time, I’d have a great chance to really refl


ect on the world, philosophize about life and death, and solve the world’s ills. However, that just isn’t the case. I kept finding myself thinking (sometimes talking) about my legs, my breathing, my foot position. Everything was about the action of which I was involved. I thought about the wind, the heat, the road, the views. Everything was incredibly present. I’m not yet sure whether this is a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, but it just is.

In the end, recon was good. Gives me a taste of the course, what I’ll feel like coming off the bike, and now just to get my running legs ready for it.

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