This winter the cold and snow have wreaked more havoc than usual; frozen diesel, frozen pipes, frozen earlobes (badly fitting hat whilst cross country skiing plus windchill = frost nip and very red, puffy ear lobes for 2 days!). Even one of the local snowploughs ran off the road and got stuck on the Col d'Ornon, not something you see every day (photo right)!
After a couple of weeks of very cold temperatures here (daytime averages of about -15'C and as low as -23'C here in the village), the thermometer has finally crept into the positive zone. So far we have topped out at an impressive +10'C this week.
The sun was shining yesterday and the forecast in Grenoble was for highs of 5'C+. Time to get the bike out then! Sounds chilly but we have become a bit hardy this last fortnight! So, well wrapped up and sporting my new 'lobster' gloves (which have been a welcome revelation to my poor old digits), I set off with a neighbour on the cycle path.
Grenoble cycle path follows the Isere river for roughly 37km and it's pretty pan-flat save a few bridges, ideal for breaking yourself in gently. So, my riding account is now open with a 53km ride and 100m height gain, a nice, easy start.
Our regular cross country skiing this winter meant that the comeback was not nearly as tough as it has been in the past. It really has been great for staying bike fit; leg strength and cardiovascular fitness all pretty good, better than expected. When I come back to the bike after winter I usually get really sore shoulders and neck for the first few outings, I had none of that yesterday as the skiing and action of poling has even kept my upper body in reasonable strength too. Unfortunately, the painful bottom from 2 hours on the saddle has not been avoided though!