How am I feeling? Thanks for asking.
The first two days of Peak Week were fine and I had no real problems with anything. Then, yesterday’s big day made me hurt, like ‘pain’ hurt, if you follow. If you don’t follow, what I mean is my legs hurt like your muscles hurt after going to the gym after a year off. What I want to say is that this sort of pain is rare for me now and it concerned me a little that I was getting it after only the 3rd day. Still, it didn’t slow me down too, too much (but it did), so while I wasn’t fresh, I wasn’t overly fatigued either.
The other issue was the heart rate, which dipped down 10 or so beats again. I chalked this up to either fatigue or the fact that I just couldn’t get the legs to work hard enough to get the heart beating faster. Again, minor concern about what this would translate into over the next few days.
Today’s ride, carefully designed by Anne, took us into the Ardèche department, but still in the Cévennes, so we were told later by her dad. Below is our first climb out of Villefort. The man-made lake is a dam, as you can see, and is stocked with trout (the big thing you see in the lake is a hatchery, I think). See that building that looks like a big stone on the nearest hill? That’s a chapel. I’d need to be really god-fearing to trudge up to that place every Sunday.
While looking for a side road we found this, which was a nice replacement.
After at least one more climb up to the high plateaus of this region, we hung a right and entered into a new departement.
After a little climb that Erik and I somehow decided to sprint up we had a long descent into the village of Saint-Laurent-les-Bains, a spa village with its very own hot-spring fountain in the main square. The water comes from 2500 meters underground and is a disappointing (on such a hot day) 53 degrees Celsius.
We descended some more then spring-boarded into our next climb – a brutal 10% demon of a thing, especially since we had no idea what what waiting for us. Here’s Anne, giving me climbing lessons (I in turn gave them to Erik ;-).
But somehow Erik was waiting for us at the hairpin below, so the lessons must have commenced later. Anyway, here’s a steep, tight hairpin for you.
And me, still chasing Anne up the hill.
There was much more riding, but no more photos. We had a dreamy ‘corniche’ ride that was the highlight of the weekend for me – freewheeling along a high ridge at 35 kph with open views all around – can’t beat the feeling you get when you’re up high, especially when you’ve worked hard to get there.
The day ended with a long ascent back home (check the elevation graph on Strava) that made the beer taste all that much better. Then, it was lunch, a shower, and I was chauffeured back home by the ever-generous Anne and Erik.
Stay tuned for Day Five. It’s in the bag, but so is your blogger…must sleep.