Today was a very special day.
It was the first day that there’s been sufficiently clear trails to take a regular (non-fat) bike out on the trails (albeit trails a little lower down in the valley) for some off-road action – nice!
Maybe I was naive to think that I was in at least semi-reasonable shape from the riding I’ve managed over the winter but I suffered. A lot.
Here’s a nice little shot looking back up the valley towards Chamonix near the start of the ride:
I’d been told about this old disused road that runs parallel to the duel carridgeway down into the valley that, whilst not exactly legal to ride, cuts off a whole big chunk of climbing right at the start of the ride – perfect.
Well…..it would’ve been had I not suffered a puncture after only 5 miles:
I’m not normally stopped for long by something as simple as a puncture but a combination of having taken the wrong tube (26″ not 29″), having the worlds shittest tyre levers ever, no repair kit and running a normal tyre on a tubeless specific rim meant that I spent a long, long time dicking around trying to get the damn thing fixed.
Eventually I botched a repair on the old tube by using a half-torn barely sticky self-adhesive patch to plug the big whole and weirdly it held – result!
I hadn’t fully escaped the snow (as you can see below) as there is still a lot around where the sun hasn’t gotten to it yet but it was a fun descent down to Servoz.
Once I’d descended I immediately started climbing again up towards some great singletrack that I’ve ridden before.
It wasn’t long before I had skipped, jumped and whoooped my way right down onto the valley floor (with a respectable 500m alt. loss):
Once in the valley I visited the bike shop to replenish my tube supply as well as pick up some patches and new tyre levers before hitting a Patisserie and beginning the long arduous climb back home.
Before long I realised that my legs weren’t fully recovered from a little road ride I’d done yesterday (though it wasn’t long or hard) and I began to suffer on the 20km climb to Les Houches (ok, there’s a little flat section half way up but it feels like one long climb!).
I stopped to splash some water on my face as I was seriously over-heating on the climb and so took a few minutes at this lovely little spot to cool off:
Once things levelled off I knew two things:
1. the climb was half over – yay!
2. I was done for. Poopendeckered, kaput, buggeroo’d and in many other ways unprepared to finish the climb.
But……there wasn’t another option so I got on with it.
The final shot I took is just before the second half of the climb begins where the road crosses the river:
I’ll not dwell on the suffering that followed on that final climb (as it shows me in a bad light) but let’s just say that my dignity (what little I had) was destroyed (if not by my poor performance then when I was overtaken by a woman jogging up the climb) – not a pretty sight.
Once over the summit it was a quick descent and then a gradual climb back into town – job done!
Below is the profile for your viewing pleasure:
Such a good ride and one that’s made me realise that I’ve got a long way to go before I’m anywhere near in shape!