Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lance Armstrong Climbs The Mauna Kea

Armstrong used the time in Hawaii to play with his time trial bike, as well as innovative internal temperature measuring. He had to swallow "thermometer pills" for that. The internal temperature gives hints about the rider's state of fatigue. But in the end he did the big one.

We speculated that Armstrong would not go the extra mile this early in the season, but this is Lance Armstrong we are talking about, after all. So on Sunday the Team RadioShack rider rode up Mauna Kea. The top of Mauna Kea, famous for its observatory, is at 4.200m (13,796 feet), so there is plenty of climbing from sea level, where all the accomodations are located. Measured from the bottom of the sea floor, Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in the world (10,203 m or 33,476 feet).

The climb itself is hard, but even worse, the last five miles are unpaved. The climb is so steep that the visitor center (located in 2,800 meter/9,300 feet of altitude) warns the tourists about it. "Ordinary vehicles cannot cope with the steep, unpaved road; you will need to obtain a four-wheel drive vehicle."

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