Friday, 30 December 2011

Bit of a blizzard

Here's the village this afternoon. This followed a day of heavy snow and northerly winds - a day to stay indoors!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The deed is done...partially!

Well, I am now the tiniest step closer to riding The 'Ronde van Vlaanderen', Tour of Flanders sportive. That is to say that my entry has now been made. The tip of a very big iceberg! There are 3 distance options; 75km, 140km and 240km. In a fit of over enthusiasm, I have signed up for the 240km option.

Time to do some serious training now thought the cobbles may be a little hard to recreate on the turbo!


Friday, 23 December 2011

Seasons Greetings!

Hope everyone has a great time over the holiday period.

We will be having a white Christmas here in the village. The baking has been done and the mulled wine made.....

All the best for Christmas and New Year,

Guy & Helyn

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Crafty dog...

We have had loads of snow here over the last two days. No doubt about it now, it's going to be a white Christmas here at King of the Mountains. Here's a photo of our decking under a good few centimetres yesterday - there's now around a foot balanced on top of the fence and bird table.

This is great news for us as the local ski pistes on the Col d'Ornon are now open. We have already been up for a couple of cross country ski sessions and conditions are great (even if ours isn't). Out of curiosity I popped the Garmin into my back pocket today to see how long the black run was and how much height gain there is in a loop. 6km with 300 metres + height gain. I have to say it felt further and higher!

Incidentally, hanging from the bird table in the photo is one of those fat/seed balls for birds. One went missing yesterday morning and shortly after this picture was taken, this one did too. I thought the blue tits had an appetite on them until I noticed our next door neighbours dog sneaking out of the garden, licking her lips sheepishly. Apparently she has quite a taste for these, it's not her first time. I imagine she had a bit of a stomach ache last night!


Monday, 12 December 2011

Alpe d'Huez, the new catwalk!

At the end of November, Guy was asked by the local cycle shop (Cycles et Sports), if he had a a spare hour or two to go up to Alpe d'Huez with a journalist and photographer from a French cycling magazine called ' Le Cycle'.

It was a nice sunny day which was fortunate as there was lots of roadside changing to be done! A whole rail of winter clothing plus several flash bikes were taken out of the back of a van and the shoot began!

At one point Guy was given a pair of sunglasses to wear for a shot descending the Alpe, this meant taking his own prescription glasses off and making his way down on a wing and a prayer!

At the end of the shoot, he was given the full Northwave kit to take home; from hat to overshoes. Not a bad mornings work really. Here (top left) is one of the pages featuring King of the Mountains' very own pin-up, and top right, the roadside 'wardrobe'.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

The skis are out!

First cross country ski of the season under our belts!

Saturday we were at Alpe d'Huez and today at Chamrousse. Both days were sunny and bright. Lots of snow forecast here for the next few days so there should be plenty on the Col d'Ornon pistes by the end of the week and we can ski more locally.

A bit rusty to start with but a bit like riding a bike, great to be out in the fresh air getting some exercise again.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Snow time like the present!

Well, it's here and you can hear the local ski resorts sighing with relief!

Yesterday a good few centimetres fell in the local area.

It's unusual for me feel happy about the arrival of snow as I'm pretty content to ride my bike for as long as is possible (though even when not really possible I'll embark on the occasional ride that could feature on 'Frozen Planet'!). This year however I'm pretty fired up about getting out on my cross country skis and using my brand new carbon fibre poles. It's a great way to stay fit for spring and I need to with the Tour of Flanders sportive on my calendar....

Guy and I have worked out a list of cross country ski events that we would like to participate in. As a demonstration of the phrase 'time is a great healer', I am again going to attempt a race called the 'Traversee du Vercors' that I did back in 2009 (see old blog post 'Biting off more than I could chew..'), glutton for 50km worth of punishment!

So, here's the village this afternoon (photo top right); the remaining vegetables interred until spring and one of the Combe Noire gullies behind the house having already avalanched. We have our shovels ready, the fire wood is stacked, snow tyres are on the van and the down jackets are out of the loft. Next job is to wax those cross country skis....


Monday, 5 December 2011

A bit of Alpe d'Huez trivia...

Each of the 21 hairpins of Alpe d'Huez is numbered with a panel. Each panel bears the name/s of stage winners of Tours past.

So, which bend bears the name of Pierre Rolland, winner of the 2011 stage?

Bend 16.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Marmotte entries for 2012

The on-line registration for individual places in the 2012 Marmotte has already closed.

Another season over and time to catch up

Well, it's been a shamefully long time between posts, but now the 2011 season is behind us we can dust down the blog and post the odd bit of news.

Our season started in May with much higher than average temperatures for the time of year. This was bookended by some incredibly warm weather during the last week of October when our last guests left. The snow on the Galibier in July just before the Tour a bit of an anomaly though!

We had a great time during the Tour, it was thrilling to see the riders on the Alpe d'Huez again. I got the impression this year that there were more people than ever lining the route and in Bourg d'Oisans during 'Tour week'. With two days on the Galibier and the TT on our doorstep, we didn't have to go far to catch the action. I think the group of Aussies we had staying that week won't forget their trip for a while!

Not so much riding being done by Guy and I this summer due to the birth of our first child, Alice, in March. Since the season end however we have been making up for lost time. Firstly, with a trip to the south coast for Guy to take part in the Roc d'Azur mountain bike race (see photos above and left). Unable to get a spot in the main race, he found himself in a team from our local cycling club riding in a night time street race (Roc Ruelle). Several 1km circuits of 100% urban riding (including a descent of a triple flight staircase!) during half an hour in a tag-team of two. Exciting stuff! Mont Ventoux on the way home for me (photo right) during a lovely stay with Peter and Joan where we have our Alpe d'Huez/Mont Ventoux week liaison.

On our annual trip back to the UK , Guy managed to squeeze in a cross race in Durham (photo right), close to his home town. The race took place on the morning that we were leaving to catch the ferry back to France via Hull. No time for a shower after the race, just a quick wipe down and off we drove/sailed!

Our spring plan was to be me riding the Flanders sportive, and Guy, Paris Roubaix. The clash of the Roubaix sportive with the Flanders pro race means that we will now do this over consecutive years. Short straw, I'm up for Flanders first! So, it will be a winter of turbo training and some good cross country ski sessions to keep me fit (snow permitting, which is not looking good at present - maybe I should have tried in July!).

One of our most enjoyable seasons yet without a doubt.

(For more Roc d'Azur photos see: