Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Third time is a charm

To celebrate my last day here in Gap, I really lived it up. First I went to the bike shop to get my bike looked at, then I went for a three-hour ride in the mountains. Since Gap is literally surrounded by mountains I wasn't sure where to go. I was supposed to have Mimi as a guide but due to her tight schedule it didn't work out. Anyway, i chose a direction and headed up the roads that seemed to head up the mountain.

The first was a nice 8 % grade for a little over 20 minutes with a few short steep jags of 14-20%. Unfortunately the road turned to rocky dirt. Although i was riding the team issue training wheelset, I still didn't want to take the chance of possibly showing up this weekend with folded wheels. So i turned around and chose another direction.

The next hill proved more worthy than the first. It lasted about 35 minutes, but still dead-ended before the summit. again, it was a nice climb of about 8-12% average gradient with gorgeous views. I would post photos that i took but my camera is in the room where Mimi is fast asleep. She goes to bed at 8pm (1/2 hour later than my usual bedtime. Today is an exception, of course.)

But the third was a winner!!! I rode and rode and rode for about an hour up a beautiful windy road with lots of switchbacks. The gradient was about 7-14% average with some extended 14-22% pitches. When i neared the top, i was determined to get to the summit. I must admit, i did have to ride some questionable pavement to make it happen. I was careful not to damage the wheels or tires, though, especially on the descent. It was exciting, but quite cold, to climb so high that i reached snow. My vest, ear warmers, knee warmers, and long fingered gloves came in handy for the never-ending descent.

After the ride, I headed back over to the bike shop to get my bike problem looked at again. They needed some time with the bike, so I took the advice I found in the comment section of my last posting and really put myself out there. I went to a cafe for an hour. (OK, i must admit that i brought my laptop to write my Marin Independent Journal column due for this Sunday's publication: But still I was in public!!) The best part of the cafe experience was the trip there! The bike shop "bouti cycle" lent me a bike to get to the cafe. It was an electric bike! What a friggin blast! After i turned it on, i started to pedal. At first i didn't notice anything. But once i put a tiny bit more force on the pedals, I shot like a rocket! What a bizarre feeling to do 40kph while theoretically smoking cigarettes and eating bon bons.

Within seconds of pulling up to the cafe, I was swarmed with folks inquiring about the bike. I hope that my alternating "oui", "d' accord" et "absolument" with the periodic eyebrow raise appeased their curiosity. hahahaha. They probably just thought i was wacko.

Tomorrow morning we leave for Ladies Berry Classic, a 2-day stage race located in some town i cannot remember. i do know that it is a 10 hour drive. Most likely my next posting will be Monday when i am back home in Belgium. At that time I will have lots more photos to post - including those of my new GORGEOUS bike and of the electric bike!

By the way, they finally figured out what was wrong with the bike - a defective chain. At least it was an easy problem to fix. Prepared with a superb bike and a fresh outlook, I am excited to race again.

Thanks for all your posts on the blog. It is always fun to hear what others have to say about what i write.


Anonymous said...

Any chance you could use the electric bike for the race? Think anyone would notice? ; )

I do enjoy your blog Christine. Keep it up! tim

Chris said...

That's a booty cycle!