In the previous installment, we left our dynamic duo on Alpe d’Huez, with Conor in reflective mood.
“Sometimes you have to go back to the start, to remind yourself of such things and today was that for me,” he wrote. “Even if Larry did half-wheel me the whole way…”
Half-wheel the whole way? Let’s make this clear… We planned a route for today with an insane amount of climbing and one I knew my big buddy would struggle with a bit due to his disposition as more of a Rouleur than a climber. So from the gun I tried to make his ride as easy as possible, sitting on the front nearly the entire way… I think he took one five-minute pull in the first six hours of the ride. He suffered, he struggled, and he pushed on.
Today I tried my hand at some psychological games of my own, to get Conor to ride faster than he otherwise would have. On the first climb of the day, we turned on the Bluetooth speaker I brought along, playing some tunes to get us going. I started off at a decent pace. And then I started to feel really good, so I upped it a bit. And a little bit more. And then we were going a pace I knew would be a bit much for Conor to handle. So I started to sing.
I figured he’d probably think his power meter wasn’t functioning correctly if I was singing along to the music at 400 watts. But even though we’ve spent a lot of time together up until this point, Conor was unaware of my greatest talent as a cyclist. You see, I have a pretty high threshold. I have a below average voice. But I have a world class ability to do is do both of them at the same time.
So there we were, smashing along up this climb in the rain, two professional cyclists carrying 20kgs of gear in €20 bike bags from Decathlon, one belting ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia, the other breathing out of his ears. The cyclotourists we passed surely couldn’t believe their eyes or their ears, if their ears still functioned properly after as they entered the foot of the Alps.