By morning, I’m over feeling sorry for myself – I’m in the French Alps, for god’s sake! – and am curious to find out what the plan for the day is. The rest of the group is going some distance away to ride 6 crazy mountains or something like that, while I’m heading somewhere closer to climb some other mountain, one that meanders up for 15km at a 10% grade.
We go our separate ways, and it turns out my ride takes me up through a national forest, and is as gorgeous as everything else in this part of France. It’s so beautiful here that it seems like one big cliché – flowers and flowerboxes everywhere, adorable French villages and houses, mountains looming in the background, etc.
So I happily zip my way up the mountain at an astonishing 5-6 mph pace on grades that range from 8-12%, and when I get to the top, what’s one of the first things I see, almost like a good omen? Yes, you guessed it – a cheese shop. And having done much of my training in Wisconsin, I know the drill here as well – I head into the shop to buy my required allotment of French cheese.
As I wander around this little mountain town, the wind picks up even more and it starts pouring – and I can only duck into shops for so long, because of course they all close between noon and 4. But luckily, just then Shelley arrives to pick me up and we head back to the chalet for a snack of bread and cheese. We’re happily eating away and having some tea, when the rest of the group shows up, hypothermic and wet to the bone. Apparently the weather was so bad where they were headed that they just went to Annecy and wound up doing a flattish short ride around the lake – in the pouring rain.
I definitely think I got the better part of the deal on this one…..