Wait… What the Roadie fuck? There wasn’t supposed to be a Day 8 on the AT40 tour… My seemingly friendly but overly anal control freak planning OCD was quite clear on this point. Day 8 was slated in bold font to be a travel day and perhaps even watching Stage 14 of the Vuelta.

I also have a tendency to get slightly conservative towards the end of a trip, which isn’t so ideal at the EWS rounds… My logic being that I’ve made it through a fair amount of action and its time to chill and dial it back.

But, when you awake already 7km’s up the Tourmalet and its your last usable day in Europe, its exceedingly difficult to ignore the call of the Mon-Ton. Plus, there was that excited child look in the birthday boys eyes, like a sugar crazed addict. He wanted MORE Hor before returning to the classic Welly three way choice between The Bays, Makara or the Hutt valley.

Despite my protests, and those of my legs, who was I to stand in the way of a slightly fatigued middle aged man and his dreams of a dawn raid on a historic Col? I’m not even going to pretend I can turn a 22km ride into a story, so lets consider this post the gallery edition of the AT40 tour.

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Early Grimpeurs looking for the hairy worm

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Getting an appreciation for why people head up the Big T early #whatdoesitsayontheback

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AT soaking up the last of that special Pyrenean vibe

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Usual early morning Grimpeur antics

Luckily for me, the boys decided this was a ‘recovery ride’, which I think is classic Roadie Irony at work, as I was still dry humping my threshold FTP to make sure that I was able to get shots like this… Which goes a long way to encapsulating being the only people on the Mon-ton at the most stunning time of the day.

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Marveling at what has been and what’s to come

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An extremely rare front on shot! Was actually trying to take a photo of a Marmot

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The climber very much in his natural habitat

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AT casually relaxed in the smugness that yeah, ok, fuck, this was an excellent call

Given this was a rare instance of arriving at the summit with my Spanish Mountain Domestique, I put him to work… To even things up Matt held his breath for the last kilometre. If this isn’t considered a Rapha porn shoot, then nothing is…

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“That’s it, take me to 100m to go to the summit and I will attack”

So I know I wanked on endlessly about how next level the Tourmalet was on Day 6, but if I can suggest a slight update to that gushiness please: If you can drag your ass out of your 3 Star French accom early enough in the morning the reward for getting up here at this time of the day is massively worth it.

The silence, the views, the vastness, the temperature and the fact its great for taking iPhone pics is a compelling case for not waiting for the croissants (and fuck – You know it has to be good for me to suggest that).

And best of all, we got to add the double team Hor shot that was missing from trophy cabinet. And in the rarest moment you’ll ever see on a Road trip, the only documented fisting of the entire tour… Given it took until Day 8 to lock this in, I gave it some style:

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The look away – BOOM

All I can say is that being up here at this time of the day and getting to soak it all once last time was an absolute gift. How incredibly awesome are bikes? Also a reminder to me: Don’t be a cunt, embrace the adventure.

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Early morning worship

I was too busy completing my Hor Montage to take it all in… The final piece in my Gram banger had fallen into place. Whilst we were low on quantity of Hors, the quality was absolutely up there on this trip.

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Du Mont, Hautacam, Aubisque and Tourmalet, plus some kit matching debacles – But a solid tally

I’d been riding the descents cautiously all trip, but you can imagine how annoyingly slow I rolled back down from the summit… Even though I knew there were hot croissants to ream. Partly because I didn’t want to leave, partly because the risk averse cunthead part of me thought I was tempting fate with messing with the schedule – But I was stoked that I had taken a golden shower on that part of me and not missed out on memorable event.

As bikes and Grimpeurs were reluctantly and unwillingly jammed back into the car, that horrible “We’re leaving the Mon-tons” dread started to descend on us. But, what an insane week it had been: Amazing weather, incredible roads, amazing locations & scenery, no mechanicals, no crashes, didn’t get lost & cunted and only a few ‘Hanger’ moments in between pastries.

A fucking seriously sensational week on the bike, especially if you like numbers… I have to say, I don’t think I have seen numbers like this in a week since the Hawk tour of Japan and in fact, the AT40 mission now sits on the top of the pile in terms of pure data:

  • 8 Rides
  • 780km’s ridden (Yes I am gutted we didn’t hit 800!)
  • 14,833m climbed
  • 34 hours and 31 minutes total ride time

Expectations were annihilated from my perspective, an absolute banger of a mission and it only gave me more fever to get back and explore more through the whole Spain and Pyrenees scenario, also throw Andorra into the mix there as that surely has to be hit at some stage.

AT was so excited about being back in Girona and being allowed to have Gelato that he busted out the trademark happy mouth for the last time on tour. Solid maaaaaaate

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Super excited about architecture… And that it was about to take 3 days to get home

A massive Dirty thanks to Matt for being a seriously deluxe super tour guide and showing us some amazing spots. Having the whole Girona area nailed and wired was an awesome knowledge base to be able to tap into, so chur dude. We also appreciated you riding 34 of those hours on the front. Shout out to Rich and James Oram as well for sharing the local gold with us.

And a massive final shout out to #DNglobalcollective board member and Birthday boy AT. Happy Birthday motherfucker, this seemed a little bit radder than going out for dinner. Thanks for flying around the world twice, including taking 3 days to get home without your bike bag to be able to share in this massive mission! #AT40 OUT!

Actually – Stay tuned as I try and work out how to make hours of Go PRO footage of road riding watchable, Dirty Spanish Video on the way. 

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