Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Absolute best of ED: PEZ On The Angliru!


“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, using alongside a degree direction on the Excursion de France.

Expensive Readers – Our cherished colleague and pal Ed Hood suffered a major stroke in February.  We don’t be expecting Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to lend a hand Ed along with his long term.  Learn the entire submit right here – and please believe donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to lend a hand Ed **

We’ll be posting a number of Ed’s paintings from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get previous.

Ed’s first day at the Angliru: The Vuelta has began one in every of its toughest editions in contemporary reminiscence. On degree 17, the 2023 version takes on a complete new degree of loopy, because the race hits the Angliru. Again in 2008, Ed Hood used to be at the roadside at the Angliru, and his day at the mythical climb is definitely value taking any other have a look at.

Right here’s the place we’re headed…

06.15: Davie is up sooner than the alarm. Bathe, pay the extortionate parking charges, struggle the only approach techniques out of Oviedo in the dead of night and very quickly we’re there – L. a. Riosa.

08.00: Over espresso we’ve made our first friends for the day, Lulon and Ander from Gipuzkoa within the Basque nation. At the slowest time table, it’s 10 hours ’til the race will get right here, however the clans are accumulating already.

09.45: Bar Chus, 1.5K into the mountain, espresso time, with a shot of native moonshine from a wine bottle – wow! At the partitions are framed newspaper covers that includes the Angliru and footage of Olano coaching at the climb.

10.45: It’s sizzling, actual sizzling, rattling sizzling, as we take quick steps ever upwards; previous cows with clanging bells and standard Asturian ‘horreros’ – grain retail outlets on stilts. Crowd visitors is stable, slightly than busy, however there are nonetheless a minimum of six hours ’til ‘display time.’

11.15: We meet Miguel; “the telescope isn’t to look at the race, it’s to look at my spouse, I don’t accept as true with her!” His English is easiest and Chechu Rubiera is his cousin – it’s a small international.

We’re at the simplest flat stretch of the mountain now – possibly 400 meters lengthy – and there are 8 kilometers to head.

Midday: Six Ok to head and there’s a meals tent – you’ll have barbecued part cows or boiled octopus (pulpo) “dos Coke por desire!” The street is so steep now that it’s exhausting to stroll at the within the hairpins, the solar has slipped at the back of a cloud and we’re happy of the cool breeze for a couple of mins.

As we sip our Cokes, a few “Bert” lovers twiddle previous, making a song his track, the lyrics are easy; “Contador, Contador, Contador . . .” and repeat for subsequent verse and refrain.

13.20: We’ve walked 8.5 Ok and feature 4 to head. While it’s no longer an target audience of Excursion requirements, there’s a gentle string of other folks strolling and pedaling up the hill. The street used to be closed to non-race cars at 09.00, however the truth is, that except the automobile parks on the flat segment and the highest, there’s completely nowhere to park.

The street developers hacked away simply sufficient rock for the string of tarmac, however not anything extra. The Karpin-Galicia group automotive tries to ‘peep’ it’s approach via, however two younger lovers with Galician flags insist on enjoying ‘torro’ with it.

14.40: “PezCyclingNews? Oh! That’s Ed!” says Aussie Chris Truskett, we noticed his Mapei South Australia best and stopped for a talk – any excuse is a superb one to prevent strolling!

If there’s any doubt about why the riders desire a 34 x 28 (we’ve heard that some might cross to 29), it’s dispelled through this segment, one of the crucial few lengthy straights, main into the hairpins simply sooner than the 2 to head banner – it’s exhausting to provide an explanation for precisely how steep it’s, however 23% turns out no exaggeration – it’s difficult to stroll, by no means thoughts pedal.

We make a decision to pitch camp right here, we’ve walked greater than ten kilometers and but even so, the cloud is rolling in above us – we’ve no longer tramped the entire approach up right here to have our picture alternatives wasted.

16.00: It’s very chilly now, Al simply emailed to mention there are 3 riders away at the Colladona with 55 kilometers to head – I am hoping it will get hotter sooner than they come, our palms are freezing. The breakfast cheese roll has lengthy worn off, so we’re ravenous too.

16.30: The 3 leaders are at the Cordal, 30 ok from us, Astana and Lampre are main the chase – Cunego will have to fancy his possibilities. The clouds are thickening now, we can have to drop down the mountain to take our pictures. The group isn’t large and there aren’t any ‘crazies’ such as you get on the Excursion – disgrace.

16.55: The Guardia Civil helicopter makes common passes above while Al emails that Christophe Kern is ‘en seule’ and no longer a ways from the climb. Martinez has been dropped in his gold jersey and Igor Anton has crashed – a foul day for the lads in orange.

17.10: We will see them – approach, approach under at the flat segment. Al says that the ‘heads’ are all in combination.

17.20: And there’s Contador! He’s ‘all shoulders,’ as the load lifters say, no longer a pleasure to look at however he’s thrilling and he’s flying.

Subsequent it’s Valverde – and his companero, Rodriguez – he’s making amends for degree 12, as somebody stated to me later; “proving that he could also be a dumb rider, however he’s a excellent one too!” the space is possibly 35 seconds. Every other hole, then it’s Sastre and Levi, am I imagining it or, or is the American considering; “step on it, Carlos?”

Extra recent air, then it’s Mosquera striking the harm on Gesink, whose head will have to be feeling too heavy for him because it’s slumped between his shoulders. The massive GC problems are settled now, because the unexpected Zaugg battles previous, then Cunego after which it’s ones and twos – Bruz, Bettini, the gold jerseyed Martinez, the ex-gold jerseyed Chavanel, Boonen, Schumi after which it’s time for a bit of additional help.

The pushes are most commonly for Spanish riders, they have got a snappy go searching for commissaires, then let the lovers do the biz – Perez and Astarloza get the entire dash remedy. Even the Shimano provider automobiles are in at the act – giving illicit tows.

It’s possibly 20 mins till the final guys move. A communication has long gone out announcing that riders will have to cross down in group automobiles, however a few of them simply ‘opt for it’ anyway, selecting their paths in the course of the crowds with the grace of swooping swallows – Milram’s Sabatini makes it glance really easy.

The group automobiles run in the course of the crowds like ice breakers at the Bering Sea, some riders wave, some textual content, Tom Boonen snoozes. Our legs are actually sore now, 10K up and we’ve carried out 4 down.

The place’s that press bus?

I flag a mini bus down, wrench on the sliding door and we jump aboard. “This isn’t the click bus, that is the sag wagon!” Alex, the motive force tells us, however he is aware of exhausted journos when he sees them and we’re off down the mountain.

He’s a Dutchman who lives in Barcelona, lately hasn’t been too busy – 81 Anton and 102 Methies. He used to be right here the primary time the Angliru used to be used ‘in anger’ – “the stipulations have been horrible, no crash obstacles and the turns have been very tight, it’s like a freeway now!”

The sag guys don’t essentially need to take the rider, he can cross in his group automotive, or on the subject of Anton, the ambulance – it’s the transponder off the motorcycle they will have to get well.

Quickly we’re being dropped off on the press room, we are saying ‘thank you’ then it’s time to organise footage and document replica – possibly the next day to come it’ll sink in that we’ve simply spent “Un Dia en El Alto de L’Angliru”.

Thank you for studying and hasta mañana!

Alto de L’Angliru - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Ronde van Spanje - Vuelta 2008 - San Vicente de la B. - Alto de L’Angliru 199 km - 13e etappe - Alberto Contador Velasco (Astana) - foto Cor Vos ©2008

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