Tour of Mont Blanc in Two
- part 5 - the end
last climb over the Col was dealt with, with one-legged pedalling and
my now favourite, swearing method. Once at the top we looked down upon
the Les Contamines Valley knowing that the Chamonix Valley was, in relative
terms just around the corner.
On the fireroad descent down I got to that state of mind where you almost
wouldn't mind if you flatted or crashed because this would mean you could
get off the bike and take a break. I had no such luck/misfortune and had
to deal with trying to keep up with Bones whilst letting the brakes off,
trying to alleviate the pain in my brake pumped hands.
A big old chunky bit of road led us down towards Saint Gervais and the
thermal park descent. Screamingly good fun, dusty, buff, switchbacked
loveliness would be a fair description of this piece of trail heaven.
Perked me up no end and took us to the train station and the train that
could have taken us back up the 400m to Chamonix. I say could, because
I am stupid/a he-man/a dick/a superhero and decided that I had to ride
ALL of the way around Mont Blanc in order to say that I had ridden it
in two days.
A long flat section of road led us out up the valley and I found that
if I sat on the nose of my saddle and kind of pedalled one legged, I could
just about ride the bike. This unfortunately did not work on the steep
road sections where I was reduced to walking and lets just say a bit of
wet eye syndrome. To make matters worse two old boys on their road bikes
cruised past me as I pushed the bike. Bones kept the pace in front by
either riding excruciatingly slowly for him or pushing, top work fella.
Mmmm mental note to oneself carbon-soled shoes are not the best for walking
As well as the road sections there were also some off road bits back up
to Cham. These are hard to ride even when you are in top shape so I felt
a bit better about pushing. I had to stop a fair bit to ease my knee which
was annoying as much as anything else as without these enforced breaks
we would have been home sinking a few beers, reliving the past two days
that it had taken us to circumnavigate the mighty Mont Blanc.
the road in Les Houches I knew we were home free. The last few kms up
the valley passed in a blur of pain and thoughts of food and beer.
We rolled into the chalet twelve hours after starting in Italy having
climbed another 3000m. The sense of accomplishment that we felt overrode
any of the hardships that we had faced, the feeling that only comes from
intense physical exertion and personal achievement. Bones commented that
I had endured a great deal of physical pain, I replied that he had also
endured a great deal of pain, in his case mental having to put up with
me, cheers mate.
Showered up we walked/limped down to the brewery ate and drank to our
hearts content. Pale ale and chicken wings, food of the Gods is what I
say a superb bit of grub to end a couple of superb days.
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
Du Mont Blanc Holiday