3 countries, 3 days, 1 BIG mountain

While some of the girls prepare for the Ras (Tour of Ireland) I have been away all week circling the biggest mountain in Europe – Mont Blanc.  And I want to add that this is NOT the soft option.  Invited on a spectacular ‘ultimate cycling tour’ by Rpm90 I have been working my way through Switzerland, Italy, and now back in France with a group of intrepid adventurers.  I could tell alot of tales, but frankly, I am having too much fun and spending too much time on my bike, so for now will give you the abbreviated pictoral highlights.

My first time in Switzerland.  Col du Corbier (1230m) first to find the climbing legs out of Morzine.  Then some fantastic descending taking advantage of the Swiss corners with banked bends and black top tarmac.  Arrival Verbier.

A grumpy James of Rpm90 on Col de Grand St BernardDay 2 of riding and we head into Italy over the Col du Grand Saint Bernard.  James of Rpm 90 looking a little grumpy.  He would claim this is because he is having to go slower than is comfortable 😉 – Yeh right!

Munchies from the van at the top

There is snow on the ground at the top.  We take on food, hot drinks and head down an awesome descent.  A 69 year old Frenchman with an impressive Moustache pauses at the top carrying enough luggage on his own to put our whole team to shame. ‘Bon Courage’ he says (you stupid Englishers) and we head down the descent into Italy.

we are definitely in Italy because of these…

After 3 hours of solid climbing and a fun descent into Italy I am beginning to get a little grumpy myself, and not wanting to finish up like James I decided to get in ‘the van of shame’.

Anja driving the all important van

This is no ‘van of shame’.  I am not proud, and besides we have retro chunes and a couple of soft toys on the dash….we head deeper into Italy…

Italian Espresso. Say no more.

The Italian hotel had quite possibly the best shower I have ever been in, and of course the best coffee.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the shower.  Lets just say it had jets and nozzles in all kinds of innovative places.  We hit the road on the Col de Petit Saint Bernard, which makes it sound kind of friendly.  It was nothing like the slog of ‘the big one’, but it was still one helluva climb.  The sun was shining though….

Summit finishes by Jo and Nick

On the way up the climb we brainstormed our Italian vocab which was mainly food realted. “Tutti-fruiti” etc. etc. (actually tutti fruiti was about it).  Over the summit Nick and I brainstormed summit finishes on an ideal ‘show boat’ finale.  In this picture I am doing the ‘teapot’ and Nick is doing a variation of the Usain Bolt ‘lighting strike’.

The usual moves…

The sun had affected the brain and there was the usual showing off.  Notice the apathy of the locals who are quite rightly focussed on their coffee.

Some of the gang..

The weather has been fantastic and the company is great too.  Here we have Nicholas, Nick, Me and Alan.  Many a smug photo has been taken in a similar vain this week.  We are all conquerors.

38 minutes of hard descending followed and we were back in France.  I am definitely getting my descending legs, brain, arms and entire body on.  I feel the need…the need for speed…..

A bit of lunch in a supermarket car park courtesy of the lovely Anja followed..and we are off up the Col du Roseland.  Another Monster.

19km of hard climbing later….

Huddled in relief at the top of the Roseland

Nick, Nicholas and I huddle together at the top of the Roseland.  Nick (pictured right above) has been eating all the Haribo all week.  This is why he got to the top first and has the biggest smile.

The planning continues…

Finally after another long day in the saddle we arrived back in France in Beaufort on Tuesday afternoon.  3 countries, 3 days, and did I mention 1 BIG mountain – Mont Blanc.

I write this from Chamonix where we have been yesterday and today.  Today I have been Mountain Biking with Anja.  For anyone trying to contact me by phone, forget it.  I managed to sit in a stream on my phone this morning and it seems to have bubbles in it.  I really am an excellent bike handler you know!  The adventure continues……

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