Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Setting the wheels in motion

Sun 07 Mar 2010 17:07 GMT

Hooray! Had the first ride of 2010 on Friday. A sunny, sunny beautiful day spent with our friend Colette. We rode in the Chartreuse mountains and opened the 'account' with a 20km spin - quality not quantity, blue skies and the most amazing cliff faces around us, still clinging on to snow like the fir trees that we rode through.

What a sensation after nearly 4 months of not being able to regularly ride. The sound of clipping into the pedals, the noise of the freewheel and the wind whistling past your ears, heaven! After my 20km taster I was like a junkie having just had a 'hit' and wondering where my next fix would come from.

My next fix was the following day, yesterday. I could not resist. Equally as sunny as Friday, not a cloud in the sky, but it was deceptive as there was a cold northerly wind blowing for the second part of the ride that took temperatures down to around -3'C at times.

Guy was heading to Geneva in the minibus so dropped me off en-route in Vizille where I rode home via some fairly main roads (though very quiet) over the col d'Ornon and back into the village (http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/france/livet-et-gavet/565126789810711147). The route was uphill for most of the way but it was all pretty steady. I had been so excited to get out again that I made some terrible schoolboy errors:

1. Forgot to take a spare tube
2. Did not take enough food for the journey
3. Did not check my pre-prepared water bottle thus did not realise that is was a solid block of ice on leaving

The first half of the ride did nor provide any opportunities to rectify 1-3 above but by La Mure, around half way, I'd got a fancy Michelin tube and a sandwich that was about 1.5ft long and rammed with enough cheese and ham to keep the hungriest of cyclists going. It was too cold to hang about and eat the sandwich so I ate on the move - not that I needed proof of how cold it was at that point, but the ham kept freezing between mouth fulls!

The ride up the col d'Ornon from Valbonnais was really beautiful. The birds were in full song and the sky was still cloudless and azure blue, a great contrast to the snow still laying around about. There have been some fairly impressive avalanches along the valley here and the evidence of this is scarily apparent; piles of heavy snow set like concrete sometimes just metres away from the road and villages.

The final descent to home was as thrilling as it was chilling and within minutes of being back in the house I was in the shower and having a great big mug of hot chocolate. Something else I've missed about riding these past few months; that after a ride it's the simplest of things like a shower and a warm drink that feel like sheer luxury!

A chilly spell now but I am avidly watching the thermometer for the next opportunity to get back out there...


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