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.
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.
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"....