I'll keep this relatively brief, as I've submitted an article to a cycling website, which will hopefully be published in the next week or so.
Ironbike is the hardest thing I have ever done by an enormous margin. Trying to put in to words how hard it was is a challenge in itself, because even the raw stats don't do it justice...
Take the toughest day you've ever had on the bike. Add a bit more. Then get up and do it all again over the following six days. That begins to give you an idea of what it was like.
Just for a bit of a comparison, the Grand Raid Cristalp in Switzerland is considered one of, if not, the toughest one day mountain bike race in the world. It's 125km with 5000m of climbing through the Swiss Alps. Day 1 of Ironbike was 137km with 4600m of climbing.
Or, how about climbing from sea level to the top of Everest every couple of days?
I thought the climbing might be ok with long climbs, but shallow-ish gradients (like the Alpine road cols). I was hugely wrong. Gradients of 20%+ were common and you could be climbing for hours (the occasional 10% road climbs were a blessed relief and a chance to relax!) Then, reaching the top of the mountains often involved slinging the bike on your back and hiking up even steeper grades for over an hour. Many of them were over 2000m too, at which point I really struggled with the altitude.
The descents offered no respite, were insanely technical and went on for so long that your ears would pop due to the altitude change.
Stats for the week:
Day 1: 11h5m 137km 4548m
Day 2: 8h50m 110km 3410m
Day 3: 9h40m 95km 4721m
Day 4: 11h0m 103km 4866m
Day 5: 7h50m 80km 3603m
Day 6: 10h40m 100km 5076m
Day 7: 6h0m 68km 3129m
I was absolutely broken by the end of the week, but managed to finish 17th overall.
A video paints a 1000 word. This is from the Italian news: http://www.rai.tv/dl/RaiTV/programmi/media/ContentItem-04054e4a-24d... - starts at 16:30 (I'm one of the two riders stuck behind the herd of ibex)
Despite the fact it was so hard, it was incredibly rewarding and I got to ride some of the most fantastic trails, and, when I managed to take time out from chewing the stem, got to enjoy some absolutely spectacular views.
Add a Comment