Docs at the Top

News & Results

03/4/2005| 0 comments
by Paul Rogen
Channing Tassone and Tony Herring at the top of Alpe d'Huez waiting for Lance. Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.
Channing Tassone and Tony Herring at the top of Alpe d'Huez waiting for Lance. Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.

Docs at the Top

It was the day before the event the whole cycling world had been anticipating for nearly a year.

to take part in his wedding in Colorado after the fellowship year was complete.   Tony understood right away when Channing wanted to get up and ride at 5AM on the day of his wedding.   What better way to start out a red letter day, slay any jitters, and stay healthy than to get on the bicycle and climb a mountain.     

 

So, on July 21, 2004 , Tony understood when Channing said he would get up at 3AM and go ahead with grandmaster scout Peter Thomson to check out the possibilities, permutations and pitfalls in the Alps and report back to the main assault group.   We all took some final looks at road maps and elevations and forsook the last glass of wine and retired to try to sleep.

 

Up early we breakfasted in the dark, rode the bus through the tail end of the night and were ready to mount up at the crack of dawn.    The early word back from our scouts was that things looked good if we moved quickly and stayed ahead of the throngs.   We jumped on our bikes and rode our duty getting into Bourg d?Oisans at just before 7 AM .  When we pedaled up to the base of the climb the gendarmes just waved us on and smiled.   A few of us tried our broken French on them enough to learn that they had never really thought the crowds would be in the millions but hoped their gloomy forecasts  had kept the unmanageable throngs away.   Hard to argue with that in our broken French.   Allez and up we go- twenty one switchbacks and nearly ten miles to the finish line.   Lance Armstrong terms this one of the two hardest climbs on all the Tours.  About Alpe d? Huez he says, ?It?s steep and its relentless- it just goes.?   Well, we?ll find out now.  

 

Once we mastered four or five switchbacks, most of us knew that we could not be stopped this day.   Some raced to the top, but most took their time and enjoyed the crowd.    Channing took the challenge and did the ascent in just over an hour.   He beat Tony by nearly twenty minutes.  Another orthopedic colleague of Ron Kendig took nearly two hours.    However, it wasn?t a race.   The race would come later when the pros took over the mountain.   But it still feels very good to conqueror any hors categorie climb, no matter what your age or what time it takes to finish.   And to climb Alpe d?Huez on this day when all the world was watching gave all of us climbers an unforgettable lift.

 

 


Many orthopods are cyclists for very good reasons.   Numerous are ex athletes who know a lot about their own bodies under stress and challenge.   Scores are former marathoners who have broken down from the miles of pounding long distance runners endure.   Lots

Pages

Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment