There aren’t many cycling related stories that you can tell people about that contains the Alps, Dolomites and Pyranees all in the one story, let alone Tour. However MWCC Peter Ritchie has conquered the Triple Crown and has let us in on the yarn.
Between 14 August and 7 September I rode the Haute Route (HR) Pyrenees, HR Alps and HR Swiss Alps Dolomites. Each is a 7-day stage race (cyclo sportif) of about 800km and 20,000m of vertical. Doing all three is called the Triple Crown (otherwise known as stupidity).
Several guys from MWCC joined me for HR Pyrenees (Andrew Cooper, Simon Martin, Andrew Thomas, Gareth Newton, Jared Millar – now living in the UK). I raced this one and finished top 60 (of about 400+) in the GC and won the 60+ age group category (by about an hour). With the exception of Jared Millar, the other guys rode it together as a group (not raced it).
To the extent possible, I cruised the HR Alps. I didn’t enjoy the first few days of this one at all. Started to feel a little better in the second half. This one was all about survival at minimal cost.
Simon Lempriere (MWCC) joined me for the HR Swiss Alps Dolomites. He rode really well and finished 26th in the GC – an exceptional result. I raced this one and finished top 50 (of about 400+) in the GC and won the 60+ age group category (again, by about an hour).
All in all, this HR event(s) was a real torture test. A massive exercise in controlled suffering (as the photos indicate). The trouble is there is little or no recovery, particularly relevant for someone of my age. For example, I was laying down about 300 to 400 TSS points per day and about 1,600 to 1,800 TSS points per week. Riding in the red zone every day is not fun.
Flew back home on Wednesday morning and then flew to Melbourne for the Amy Gillett GF (qualifier for the worlds in Perth next year) on Friday afternoon. Finally managed to win this one (MMAS7 category) after 4 attempts. Managed to beat the legendary Richard McCorkell (ex-Grafton to Inverell winner and older version of Stephen Fairless) by 8 secs over the last 500m. Probably the most pleasing win of the year. I certainly had an unfair advantage, with so much of Europe in my legs.
It’s been a pretty good 12 months for me:
NSW criterium champion (MMAS6 2014) – September 2014
Tenth in Tour of Bright (MMAS6+ 2014) – December 2014
NSW hill climb champion (MMAS7 2015) – April 2015
Third in Bathurst to Blayney (50-64 age group) – April 2015
NSW road race champion (MMAS7 2015) – May 2015
NSW time trial champion (MMAS7 2015) – May 2015
First in HR Pyrenees (60+ age group) – August 2015
First in HR Swiss Alps Dolomites (60+ age group) – September 2015
First in Amy Gillett Gran Fondo (MMAS7 2015) – September 2015
Australian time trial champion (MMAS7 2015) – September 2015
Don’t seem to know how to finish off the road race at the nationals. Finished 5th of 5 left in the race last year. This year finished 4th of 4 left in the race (don’t know the difference between the down shift and the up shift button for the cassette with 200m to go!!).
Fair to say that Peter has had a pretty good year.