Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cycling through the Charente countryside

Regular readers will know that in a couple of months time I am embarking on the longest cycle ride of my life.  Starting in Bordeaux, myself and four friends will journey down to the Pyrenees and then attempt to cycle up the infamous Col du Tourmalet.

I'm currently "in light training" as my father-in-law likes to call it.  As a talented amateur cyclist he has been put in charge of making sure that I don't disgrace myself.

Sadly though there are a few issues:

(i) I have led a sedentary life for 49 years and I'm both overweight & unfit.
(ii) I'm going to be making the journey on my 20 year old "sit up and beg" mountain bike.  The brakes don't work, only one of the three gear rings works and it's still caked in mud from a one off whirl round Richmond Park with my mate Chris in 1992.
(iii) I'm lazy and think that Sunday mornings were made for sleeping in.

So I wasn't impressed to be up at the crack of dawn last Sunday and setting out on a 70km ride.

Father-in-law had broken it down into three stages.

Firstly we set off up into the hills around St Preuil and Bouteville.  Stunning scenery but not easy to climb.

Then came what he calls "speed work" where we kept going back and forth across the river Charente in the beautiful villages of Graves, Vibrac and Bassac.

Finally came "the grind" where we cut through Bourg Charente and up the long hill past Cognac golf course and then back down into Jarnac.

Three hours fifteen minutes later my legs were screaming but I was able to collapse into a heap.  I then spent two hours just watching muscles I didn't know I had dancing around in my thighs.

1 comment:

Andy said...

I've got a bike you can borrow Graham. It is of similar vintage but everything works and it's got new tyres. Let me know.......