Life from an outsider's perspective…

Road Riding in the Mountains.

What road bikers seek. Road riding in the mountains. In search of the perfect bicycle ride.I think I have an idea of what road riders seek.

What they are looking for more than anything is to be as far away from civilisation as possible (just like mountainbikers), but with the knowledge that if they need anything, they can have access to it. That might mean that extra water, mechanical backup, etc is only a phone call away. It’s kind of impossible, but there you have it.

They want to get away from cars more than anything, so I don’t think they’d even want a support-vehicle following them all the time… they want to either “burn the miles” or “experience the climb” at their own pace. No distractions. It could be either riding within a group, with their partner, or alone.

Hence, roadies are sometimes best served by an uplift to a suitable starting point & preferably collection (at which point they’re knackered), or possibly even both (luxury!). Get them away from any dense suburbs and into scenic territory asap. Get them in the mountains on the smoothest roads that you can find with the least amount of traffic and they’ll be like pigs in proverbial mud. Remember: road bikers enjoy the ascents just as much as the descents. Personally, I do both & I enjoy ascending on a road bike, and descending on a MTB.

I have a feeling that road bikers training overseas generally like to stop and enjoy the local food & coffee rather than continually munch on the same old energy bars that they can get back home. But they want to do that AFTER the main climb, not before. At the summit is an ideal place for this… it allows them to re-group, re-fuel & add layers of clothing if need be. Preferably, they don’t carry their own jackets or even helmets (please don’t flame me for saying that), they’d get those at the top for the chilly/dangerous descent.

Like all bikers, they usually prefer loop-rides, not return-and-back ones. They want to know what they face. Is it a single 20km continuous 5% gradient? 10%? 15%? Will it be sunny? It’s a psychological challenge to tackle a mountain climb & they need to know what to wear more than anything… Are there any places to stop & get snacks? Nothing is worse than bonking on a major climb.

4 Responses to “Road Riding in the Mountains.”

  1. Just one question / observation: does the word “bonking” have a different meaning in Australian? In English-English this refers, colloqually, to the er, act of copulation. One would need to be super fit to do that and tackle a major climb at the same time, me thinks. Definitely need more than energy bars. :)

    To be serious for one second, I’m sure you’re right about wanting to get away from cars. I was thinking about getting a bike to get back and forth to the local town here in the UK, but the local roads are just too crowded and dangerous to attempt it. Weekends and holidays away in suitable locations might be the only time it’s possible.

  2. It sure does mean what you think it means Pamela (in OZ too!). But in the cycling sense, it also refers to when your blood sugar gets so low (you become glycogen depleted) that you *completely* run out of energy. I think the terminolgy started in the USA where the word bonk has no significance. But I could be wrong.

    You can usally partially recover this temporary condition after intake of food or sports drink and a rest, but you’re never the same afterwards… I’d go so far as to say that after a cycling bonk, you’re weaker than after a real bonk. hehehe.

    Actually, this is somewhat of a strange post. It’s basically an answer to a question that no one wanted to answer on the bike-radar cycling forum:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12584797

    Later, I thought that this has lots of keywords and was too valuable to waste on a forum & decided to post it here instead.

    So are you based in the UK now?

  3. Thanks Dr Leslie, really useful response. I was surprised at the initial lack of takers!

  4. Dr Brown. You state-“What they are looking for more than anything is to be as far away from civilisation as possible (just like mountainbikers), but with the knowledge that if they need anything, they can have access to it. That might mean that extra water, mechanical backup, etc is only a phone call away. It’s kind of impossible, but there you have it.”
    We do the impossible!
    Or so it seems, but that is because we set up our cycle holiday company because we are cyclists and enjoy riding our bikes. We even encourage our riders to eat in decent local bars/restaurants as well as offer energy bars etc. We start our rides at 1000m altitude half way up a mountain in a quiet alpine village and go from there. Oh! if there is anything else you want then just let us know and we will try and fit it in!

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