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 in.
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
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