fairly early start was called for so bread, chocky spread, swiss
roll and rather strong coffee were all consumed with equal aplomb.
Camelbacks packed we headed off onto the awaiting singletrack.
All things considered we felt pretty good and cold muscles soon
warmed leaving us to look forward to the days riding.
the refuge all of the morning riding was concerned with gaining
altitude, culminating in the Col De La Siegne, the Italian/French
border. Again the climb up is absolutely stunning, riding alongside
a meltwater river on rocky tracks whilst looking at the back of
Mont Blanc and its hanging glaciers, superb. The last part of
the climb is a carry/ride depending upon what’s going on
in yer legs. Unsurprisingly there wasn't much in Bones’
or mine so a bit of a push ensued.
At the top once again, breathtaking views were the order of the
day. One thing I was sure about was how damn fine the descent
is to the donkey farm. Without a shadow of a doubt this bad boy
is my favourite descent, period. Loads of singletrack line choices,
drops, jumps, chutes, exposure, rocks, it really has got a bit
of everything. Refreshed from the nights rest its fair to say
that the trail got a good spanking, nailed top to bottom. The
last plunge down to the donkey farm is steep and exhilarating
and concentration levels had to be maintained.
quick blast up on a bit of tarmac and then more down on super
fast road towards Chapiex and the start of the Courmet De Rosaland
climb of Tour de France fame.
A huge open road meant there was no chance of shielding from the
wind on the climb so we just got on with it. It was at this point
that I started to get the odd twinge in my right knee. No prob
I thought after all I had just forced it to do an immense amount
of riding in a short space of time, a bit of deep heat and away
we go. Little did I know...
Maybe the road guys are on to something. The descent to Lac Rosaland
is plain rude. Balls to the wall fast tarmac, air-o-tuck ahoy.
Cutting the bends in the road and standing up in the corners to
help slow down, you feel like a superbike rider, mmm I wonder
how fast you would go on a road bike...
We rode around the lake and bypassed the hotel that would usually
mark the end of the 4th day of the tour and started the first
of three cols that would take us home. By now the knee was hurting
a bit more, ah well bring on the deep heat.
Up and over the first Col we dropped down and
started on the biggest up of the day. In total the climb has about
twenty switchbacks in it so you can imagine that if your knee
suddenly went and you were unable to pedal it could be a bit of
a problem. Well... that’s just what happened to me. For
some reason on each pedal stroke the pain in my knee had become
immense making me feel all a bit sick. Due to the position we
were in I decided that carrying on was the only option. Little
did I know we were a long, long way from the top of the Col and
the pain got worse and worse the more I moved it.
The trail in itself was spot on 4x4 nice kind of middle ring climbing
and at the top there was a carry of about twenty to thirty minutes.
I found that if a pedalled in the saddle the pain was just about
bearable, however due to my bum chaffing, sitting down was becoming
less and less of an option but standing up put more pressure on
my knee. I knew the only way for me to get to the top was by using
the swearing method. Many, many profanities later and we were
stood on the Col de La Gitte. I knew that sweet singletrack would
take us down towards the Col Du Joly but all things considered
I wanted it all to be over. Aching fingers and feet took more
punishment as we dropped down to the Col Du Joly road on rocky
loose, under normal circumstances, sweet singletrack.