Our first week in Europe was spent in Duignt France, on Lake Annecy. It was incredibly beautiful with nice easy rides as well as in my opinion very difficult rides. When we arrived it was 30 Celsius and sunny. I promptly slept 3 hours due to jet lag and since my bike did not come I was off the hook for a ride. However, we did go for a nice 6 mile run on a “Piste Cycleable” which is an incredible bike path. Friday morning dawn sunny and bright and Kevin was off for a two mile swim in 68 degree water. Luckily for me, my wetsuit was in my missing bike box, so I slept in until 8:30 giving me 11 hours of sleep. My jet lag was quickly disappearing. Good news, my bike came about noon just in time to go on an easy bike ride. Easy ride was a lie, or at least in my opinion it was anything but easy. We started on that wonderful trail for 6 miles, and I thought, great, I can ride like this all day. Then we turn and begin the climb up the Col De Forclaz in Annecy. It was an 8km climb or 5 miles for those not used to kilometers. I am quickly becoming an expert in “kms” as I always want to know how far it is to the top so I can tell myself I only have X amount of miles to go. So quickly it becomes apparent that I am on my own for this climb. At times I was going 4 mph and at best was going about 6mph. It felt so difficult and I have yet to be able to find the % grade as the French seem to thing this “Col” or mountain is too insignificant to grade! It took 46 minutes to ascend that climb! Or almost 9 minutes a mile. The picture that is included is what it looked like at the top. It was truly breathtaking and we stood on the ramp that Para gliders lift off from…never in a million years would I do that!
Then Saturday comes and I get to do that climb all over again along with the Col De Croix Fry and Col De Avavis….three in one day and all done by the Tour De France riders in past years! It was 72 miles and took me 5:30 minutes. The descents were scary but I know that next weekend they will be much more difficult. On the way up the first one, it took me 50 minutes, now I know I am slower on the 2nd day, but after the descent, I stopped and realized that my back brake was rubbing, like it wasn’t hard enough without my brakes slowing me down. I blame my time on that!! I forgot to mention that as one climbs, your head becomes surrounded by about 30 horse flies. They seem to be drawn to the sweat and that fact that I am going so slow. As a matter of fact, since I tend to be a mouth breather, I happened to swallow not one but three horse flies. I hope they enjoyed the journey down….I sure hated it and tried my hardest to cough them up, but climbing and coughing as hard as you can seems to be “tres difficile”
Sunday was again a beautiful morning and I went for a 2 hour run. I love to chat with people I meet along the way as they pass me, but alas, my French goes back to high school only and it is sadly lacking. So, for two hours I was in my own world again running on the bike path. We then went for a 25 mile ride around Lake Annecy. So beautiful, and we went through small towns where you can almost reach out and touch the side of the buildings. We had one or I guess it was 4 switchbacks to get out of Taliore…no one told me about that climb in what was suppose to be flat ride
All in all it was a great four days during our stay in Duignt and we are off to Allemont and our climb up 4 mountain passes, the hardest on the Tour de France next weekend. I am nervous and wishing I had a triple chain ring! But since I don’t I will survive and look forward to sharing the week in the Alps with you.