Monday, 21 July 2014

It's A Long Way To The Top...

So I get my first day-off on Saturday in Carpentras and do precisely sod-all, which just what was needed. Well, whilst watching the final hour of that day's stage in the TdF I almost got into a row with a couple of Americans and an Australian who didn't share my anti-doping sentiments. In the end we had to agree to disagree and say no more. Extraordinary position to take. Eejits.

The highlight of the day was being able to enjoy some relaxed and delicious food in the sunshine...some things you just don't tire of!

Nevertheless, Sunday saw me set off on the 15 mile spin to the base for the next six days, Malaucene, which is right at the start of one of the three roads up to the Giant Of Provence. The small town was actually buzzing with life with tons of cyclists milling around, posing and passing through and there was plenty of people watching to be done while having lunch.

Post-lunch came the decision: to wait until 2pm and check-in and get settled and watch that day's TdF stage live or try something ill-advised and a bit daft. No decision at all is it? I set off up the mountain still fully loaded with all my luggage attached. How bad could it be?

Gentle start. Bon!

Oh really? Shame.

Billy Big-Time shows no respect in the big chain-ring. Lasted for 100 yards max.

You should've seen how much gear these loons were struggling with. Think they're still on the way up.
The climb naturally was slow but was doable, made more so by the occasional word or shout of encouagement from car passengers and other climbers. Tres bon!
It wasn't until about 2 miles from the summit that the weather closed in and went pretty horrible...hail, wind, cloud and then heavy rain. Thankfully somebody had no end of clothing to choose from, hah-hah! I did feel for some other cyclists who had been caught out: that would not have been pleasant.

First sight of the weather station at around 5km to go. A welcome sight!

And that's when the conditions changed a tad abruptly...

In memory of Mr Keith Spong.
Glad that I did the climb and even happier to descend back to the hotel and get showered and warm again. We'll be waiting and watching the local weather forecast to give us the kindest possible day. Right now, Wednesday looks favourite...

No forecast about shot legs etc...

Asymetric alright.

Andy arrived as expected at around 8.30pm after an 800 mile drive...he was ready for a beer and I wasn't going to argue. Good to see you, pal!
Today was a drive back up to the summit via the climb that I did yesterday and then a recce of the descent to the village of Bedoin. There was a terrific number of cyclists in varying states of distress climbing up the mountain: great to see!

A familiar sight. In trail and struggling to keep up, hah-hah!

We went out for a quick spin this afternoon and it was indeed a tad rapid...a walk in the park for m'learned colleague but a slight sufferfest for myself. Back at the ranch we discovered that is was La Fete Nationale Belge today, so it was obligatory to try one of their mentally strong brews. Duvel. Diabolical, more like. But strangely compelling...

Replenishing lost fluid. And celebrating Les Belgiques, apparently...

So today is La Fete Nationale Belge? Of course we all knew that.

We're almost in danger of having a plan now: we'll kick-off at 0030 on Wednesday morning and hopefully be complete by 1900. Top boffins have been sweating over the small stuff, as you can see from the meisterplan below. M= Malaucene, B= Bedoin and S= Sault with approximate timings. Very approximate timings...

"Men, we'll parachute in here and surprise Jerry here...the bridge is marked here."
Further prep involved the world's least complicated shopping list and a trip to the supermarche across the road. This evening we'll stash a couple of bags containing supplies near the top of the climb, as there is nowt open before 0830 most likely...

Are you sure this is how Team Sky prepare?
Hmmm...this all looks a bit real now. Keep your fingers crossed!

While we're here, and I know that I say this quite a bit, but a massive thank you to you generous types who have donated to these causes. Good on you. You know that I'm busting my balls out there at times, so it's really appreciated.

I will give £10 for every £50 that you do. Aside from that, there is one other thing that would help, if you can do it...please share this blog and/or the JG links with your pals/acquaintances/enemies.

No comments:

Post a Comment