Day Four –Aime (near Bourg St Maurice) to St Martin De Belleville to Valloire
I had visited here earlier this year with the ski guys, we had a bubble lift that took us up and away from a very alcoholic and sumptuous lunch at the Restaurant E’terlou back in January, here we did not have that luxury, this was quite a different experience!
This was the toughest day so far by a merry mile, I hurt in places that I did not know even existed and my left arm (the recently broken one) has put in a for a free transfer!
We awoke to heavy rain and mist (aka. liquid sunshine in Antigua) which delayed our start and we had to miss some of the route due to fog on the mountain (Pah!! us English would have gone). Aching loads already after two great but demanding days on the mountain and no time to visit the enticing hot tub / sauna at the chalet which ensured maximum pain this morning. Our very important driver ‘Wheels Josh’ enjoyed telling us about his relaxation and how we had really missed out and that he felt so much better – we were not! – well the royal we, that is Adrian and I. The ‘Carbon’ brothers presumably just lie on an iPad charge pad or something similar for 7 minutes or so to simply return to normal state.
|St Martin De Belleville - Christian's great Uncle!!|
|The Valley we climbed up, looks stunning after the rain|
|At the top, a tough descent after!|
Geared up and nowhere to go we drank double ‘hallucinatory’ expresso coffee until the weather cleared, after an early lunch saw us go up the valley. The rain had turned the tracks into muscle sapping mud, walking helped not much either and at one point the five of us were stretched across half a mile! I had to take myself aside for very stern talking to which worked for almost 3.5 minutes before I fell out with myself again! Pain was everywhere and etched into my face as ‘carbon’ Alex took a photo to prove the point!
If I thought for a fleeting moment (and by God I hoped) that reaching the top was going to be all downhill from there, how wrong could I be! We dropped down some steep scree and loose rocks with the occasional boulder onto goat tracks with sharp and irregular rocks ready to catch you out. Concentration was full on, so too the brakes.
My index finger was wrapped around each brake and fully applied but still speed was barely abating, my tendons in my arms was so taut and standing proud that Lou Reed would have had no problem playing a fine rendition of ‘Vicious’! He will have to save his version of ‘Perfect Day’ until tomorrow hopefully! Bring it on Lou!
So with the legs taking a severe battering on the way up our arms took savage beating on the way down! It could not flow, we had to stop incessantly to ford streams, climb down and up out of small gorges and over rock falls, this was mountaineering, coasteeering, hiking with bikes on our backs and not so much biking!
The various sections that we rode were tougher that I have known but no doubt an experience – enjoyable? Well maybe I will think so after a while to recover. The last 3 km back to the village were fast, flowing and superb but a mere sticking plaster hiding the mental scars and agonies of the day!
Today hurt a lot both physically and mentally, new aches on top of existing aches. Silence was deafening in the van when we met up with ‘Wheels’ Josh as we reflected on our own individual experiences and moments.
Bed by 8pm, I missed most of dinner as could not stay up any longer!