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Tour of Mont Blanc in Two Days - part 1

"You reckon it can be done two days, that's plain rude". "Alright then lets give it a crack".
That was that then, Bones (skinny bloke), and myself had just committed ourselves to a ride of epic proportions, 7700 metres of climbing over a distance of 130 miles in just two days.
The beast in question was the Tour Du Mont Blanc in the French Alps. The route circumnavigates the Mont Blanc Massive range and runs through France, Switzerland and Italy. Ordinarilly you would take around four to five days to complete it in order to make the most of the Alpine riding and scenery.
I had been running mountain bike holidays in Chamonix for the last few months and both myself and Bones had decided to do the Grand Raid Cristalp race again in August.
The race itself is a bit of a mutha of a mountain marathon with big, big ups and downs and in order to prepare ourselves, we had been doing some epic rides.
I'd been contemplating running the Tour as a holiday as well and needed some photos for the brochure and also to familierise myself with the route. Thus, a cunning or damn right stupid plan was hatched. Combine the training for the Raid and the necessity to ride the Tour and we had the perfect reason/excuse to try and do it in two days.

I had ridden the route many times before and sort of knew what we were in for. Bones on the other hand was a tour virgin and only had my recollections to go on, which with hindsight, were very much of the rose tinted variety. Time had done a wonderful job of blanking out all of those hard bits that the mind files away under the heading of "Pain and Suffering".
We had a quiet period the following week and so the plans were set in stone. Energy gels and food were bought and weather forcasts were checked, everything slotted into place nicely. After telling a few people our plans there was no turning back, an early start was pencilled in for the following Tuesday morning.

 The alarm went off at the unsocial time of 4.30am, all was black outside and the realisation of what we were about to do hit me. Bones was already up sorting the all important jam butties and pot of coffee out, time to get ready.
Last preperations were made and all clothing and equipment for the next two days were rammed into camelbacks. Whilst we waited for first light, Fools Gold by the Stone Roses could be heard from the stereo in the kitchen. I couldn't help but think how appropriate it was, "pack on my back is acheing, straps seem to cut me like a knife"....

The sun started to make an appearance and we decided it was time to take our seats aboard the pain train and leave the chalet behind. We made our way up the valley, relishing the opportunity to hammer the quiet trails and concentrate on line choices and not other trail users.

Next page

Mountain Bike Tour of Mont Blanc Part 1 - Mountain Bike Tour of Mont Blanc Part 2 - Mountain Bike Tour of Mont Blanc Part 3 - Mountain Bike Tour of Mont Blanc Part 4 - Mountain Bike Tour of Mont Blanc Part 5

Tour Du Mont Blanc Holiday


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