Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Up, up, up and down

Today was mountain day. Four hours of up and down. After the first few minutes, though, my body started to protest. It hadn’t done anything longer than five minutes since last November when I was last in California. Eventually my body submitted – I’m sure you know the feeling when it’s as if the switch is flipped - and I started to enjoy the steady climbing.

I had forgotten how much fun it can be to climb for long periods of time. The therapeutic aspect alone is well worth the discomfort of having to work a little harder on the bike. And when my mind wanders to something fun or exciting, the pedaling feels easier and sometimes I even find myself picking up the pace with seemingly the same effort level.

About twenty minutes into the first climb, I started to become homesick for the mountains back in Marin County – just north of San Francisco. I don’t get homesick for people, family, etc - never have - but I do get homesick for my favorite trails, bike routes, and food! I am still in search of a huge-ass California-style Mexican burrito here in Europe. I have a feeling I am better off waiting until I visit California.

Two hours into the ride, it started to rain HARD - even turning to hail periodically. The hardest part of the ride was surely when i dropped back down to St. Zacherie where I am staying. I still had to climb back to the top again but when you're cold, tired, wet and hungry for something other than an energy bar, it's really tempting to just turn in, get warm and eat real food. That u-turn felt like it was in slow motion as mind and body struggled to come to an agreement.

Now that I've had a big bowl of rice with sundried tomatoes and basil in a garlic and walnut infused olive oil sauce, dressed i'm in my warmest fluffy sweats, and the heat is cranked high, I'm glad i made the u-turn. Tonight i change host housing. I will relocate to Marseilles to stay with Sandrine and her boyfriend Oliver where i will be forced to speak french - hahaha. I know that isn't supposed to be funny. And i'm sure it won't be funny as i struggle to get my sentiments across to them. Who am i kidding...yes it will! And i'll be the first one laughing.

The top photo was taken near the top. If you enlarge the photo, you can almost see some of the road I took to get there.

The second photo was taken also near the top. It made for a great pee stop - I learned they say pee-pee here in France.

The bottom photo marks the top of the mountain. It's used for many races. The last one it was used for was tour of Mediterranean to mark the mountain top sprint.


Paul Tay said...

Yep. That first pic looks like MAJOR pain.

I think the French would wear on me after a few weeks. Southern Italy is probably more my style. But then again, it would be more like a fig or olive oil sponsor, NOT prunes!

I bet you are pretty "regular," though. You've heard THAT one before, fo' shure.

BeliVelo said...

Now you have me missing the climbing in France and the mexican food from when I lived in Salt Lake City as a ski instructor. Sorry, I am a carnivore and miss the chile verde the most from the Red Iguana restaurent. One thing about France on the food theme is the readily available sorbets! A demain. Philip