DESCEND
19
Emotions
and behind the
scenes of
the Tour de France
↥ THE DESCENT

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ UP & DOWN

For any rider, going up with ease and speed will definitely make them a potential general classification contender. That is an undeniable point, but a stage with a succession of passes to climb leads of course to a downhill segment before the following climb.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

 

↥ 

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ EASY?

Going down would seem to be easy enough. You just have to follow the road and take the time to have a rest. Nothing is truer, except that if you take into consideration that during the climb you left a lot of your energy on the side of the road and mentally you are no longer 100% at the top, coming down ain’t so easy.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ 

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ RISK vs. REWARD

Your heart rate is at its max and you now to descend the pass, you need the highest amounts of concentration possible. Your mind, for lack of better words, is completely cooked. But to avoid being dropped, you need to keep the pace. The faster you descend, the colder you feel relatively, the faster your fingers and arms start to feel numb, the faster you put yourself and others at risk. One slip could be disastrous.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ CONCENTRATE

But what makes a pro rider a good or a bad downhiller? Firstly, the ability to stay relaxed and to concentrate simultaneously is very important. Some of the descents on the tour will have riders flying down the mountain at speeds in excess of 100km/h- again, no slips allowed.

Photo: Jered & Ashley Gruber

↥ FLY

Taking the smartest and smoothest lines will also make any rider faster. It will also help them to have the sensation of air flowing around their body. While the climbs are never comforting, the fact that you will be able to have a flying feeling on the way down certainly is.

Photo: Kristof Ramon

Previous Stage:

18

Next Stage:

20