Sunday, 9 December 2012

Weather Wonderland

It may not have been freezing when we woke but we experienced all of the above with the exception (you have guessed correctly) of the 20 degrees. Nonetheless, it was a day of such weather that we could ride our bikes without snow tyres – perhaps! Optimistically, we selected a route of around 60 kilometres that would take us in a circle – sort of- and return us to our start point at our residence, thus relieving James of any onerous driving. Clad in our now familiar winter clothing which included a set of ski trousers for me and Buffalos for us both, we waved a cheery farewell.
It never ceases to amaze me that a very short climb can transform a slightly damp road surface to one surrounded by snow; amazed I was, therefore, as we found ourselves once more in amongst the white stuff. For the most part the roads were clear enough as long as we stayed out of the gutter so we doggedly stuck to our line and if vehicles had to pull over, so be it. Most of the vehicles anyway belonged to the chasse and were being driven at hectic speed in order to trap some unsuspecting beast. Confident that we were not the quarry and, therefore not likely to catch a bullet, we enjoyed a series of steady climbs in somewhat dubious weather. For a short while our pleasure was marred by the appearance of a particularly heavy fall of sleet but, just as in all good books, relief appeared in the form of a bar/café which served hot coffee and afforded us sufficient respite to recover feeling in feet and hands. (I do sometimes question our definition of pleasure!). It did feel as though we had been climbing for most of the ride so with the cessation of the sleet and a few downhills I questioned a little less. And when we finally arrived at a weeny village called Gimel les Cascades, we were quite bowled over (not literally, thankfully) with its rustic buildings and very steep sided gorge, at the bottom of which could be seen, of course, les cascades! Following a narrow and steep road, we crossed what looked like an old Roman bridge and beheld the falls in all their glory. Fabulous! Our sudden appearance had startled another spectator who gave us a disbelieving stare but then forgot all about these insane cyclists when we were all nearly run down by a motor home. Bear in mind the road width was only marginally wider than the Roman bridge and the Romans, as far as I know, had no motor homes! Leaving the driver to sort out his own dilemma, we stared with at the upcoming climb. Poor old elephant was well chewed.
With the weather threatening to snow, rain or something similar, we made a beeline for home. We had ridden some 60 + kilometres and climbed over 2000 feet. This was to be our last ride of this short but fabulous holiday and we were delighted that, despite being December, we had completed a ride every day.

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