Mike Simpson

Patella Overload

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CCC2013 Stage Two

Valberg to Sisteron

202km 3400m of climbing

Seven days before starting this event, on the last rep, of the last climb on the last day's training in the Italian Alps my knee gave out on me. I had hoped it would be ok but it was not at all happy when I tried to up the pace on the Col de Braus yesterday. I was just going to have to take one day at a time and not put too much pressure on it. Usual story quads and IT band so tight they have caused pain and inflammation under my knee (fat pad impingement). I would come to realise over the next 10 days my event would be saved by the inclusion of Tres Chelsea as physio support. James and Andres are two very talented individuals and it would be their input, at all hours, that would get me through. Having a weeks rest was not an option they could prescribe during a ten stage mountain event.

The day started with a massive fast descent from Valberg, but our first planned climb (Col de Champs) had to be excluded due to a mud slide. Contingencies had been put in place if the high passes were unpassable and we took in the climb of the St Michel instead (I had climbed the Champs in 2009 anyway). Which meant taking a wonderful road through a gorge and tunnels. Organiser Phil has a wonderful/unique way of describing routes to us and I think this was one of his peddling descent sections (which we would come to realise means that it contains uphills). I spent the day riding with roomie Dave and newbie Kelli, they went on to make the event such a fun and enjoyable trip for me, and my knee problem was soon forgotten as we laughed and giggled our way over the Alps.

Click images to enlarge.