Our last day, and we were all knackered. Hard riding, too much
to drink the night before and not enough sleep was beginning to
catch up with us all.
Unfortunately today was not to be a recovery pootle, but instead
we were to tackle the iconic Madone (made famous by Lance Armstrong
using it as his pre-Tour testing climb). Unlike the preceding three
days the weather was not so kind - plenty of wind and some dark
clouds greeted us.
I was dreading the Madone; I had heard it was difficult as the
gradient constantly changed, and I simply did not feel up for it at
all. However, two double espressos at the base of the climb and my
mood had improved no end…
There are a number of different starting points for the Madone,
so it's very hard to compare times with Pros as they guard their
times and wattage closely. Its length varies from 9 to 14km
depending on where you start, with an average of 7% and some cheeky
The climb itself is fantastic. There is something truly magical
about knowing these are the roads that the cycling gods have ridden
I rode the climb with our guide Adam, and it was great to share
the workload with him (especially as the top sections are exposed).
We were certainly shifting. He'd smashed this climb as a recce in
42 mins, and today, on shot legs, we did 36 mins. I am now
fascinated by the Madone. I want to come back with fresh legs, and
having ridden it I know where you can dig deeper and where you can