Now that was good! I did test the route to the left and the answer is that it will be not only meteorologically possible to meet up with my friends, but it will be physiologically possible. To be honest, I only went a short way over the saddle and into the head of the Champagny valley, it was clear there would be no further problems, just a lot of hard cycling back up, had I continued so this was only some 470m of net climb, the full round trip will be about 1,800m but I can spread it over an easy couple of hours out to meet them with this sort of net 470m up then about 1,400m down. Then some good hours with them and perhaps a couple of beers or some wine (strictly medical, for the anaesthesia) before reversing those figures over I would guess three to four hours. I was out today for a bit under two hours but much of that was me stopping to take ‘photos. Twice, for short distances, I decided that the combination of 14% or more upward gradient with very loose gravelly track meant that pushing Cerise was safer than cycling her but apart from those, and they were off the beaten track, playing around with rough tracks and a bit of grassland on the way back. It’ll be fine in July. (Actually, I’m tempting fate, now I’ve said that it’ll probably rain torentially or even snow, it does do that in July up here.)
I’ll see if I can pull some of the less disappointing ‘photos into something later but for now, here is what the garmin, which decided to behave, recorded. (And this is where the zoomable image, courtesy of the WP Featherlight plugin really comes in useful if you want to get the detail.)
My route out is the top one, all but the very first bit was on road although by the point of going over the saddle (at about the little blip in the single track) the road was worse than anything in London: true dirt track and I was amused that the two cars I encountered were taking it much more gingerly than I was. Where the two journeys split coming back I opted for something that was no longer road for much of the way, tractor track probably covers it. This was really only the second bit of fairly real mountain biking I’ve ever done (one trip on a holiday in Greece some years ago was the only other). Cerise with her full suspension, ridiculously low bottom gear, treble chainring, pretty reasonable hydraulic disc brakes and her big and medium knobbly tyres is perfect for this. OK, she and I are going to be friends and I think that may clinch her name somehow.
As the Garmin was behaving, here are some plots.
Yes, that’s pretty much was it felt like: a drop from here to Plagne Centre then a pretty steady climb to the ridge ten down a bit then back up a bit faster than I had done the last bit the other way, then a much faster descent the way I had come, then the decision to go the different route and another climb and delayed descent and a fairly level sweep round above Plagne Centre back to Aime2000.
Heart rate hit 161 maximum, like this.
The sun was intense for much of the way but there was a period during which cloud covered it and I was glad to have opted for two thin layers, not one. I was amused that this plot of the temperture the Garmin recorded caught that.
Peak at 27°C but down to 14°C in that period when the cloud came over. Here, as I love graphs, are elevation, heart rate and speed showing rather clearly the drops in HR with the stops!
OK, enough data silliness. It’s clearly time Cerise got to take a bow and for you to be properly introduced. Cerise meet anyone out there reading this, anyone out there bemusedly reading this, meet Cerise.
Hm, that’s a better floor. That’s her having a well earned rest. NO! I’m not so daft about bikes that she sleeps in the bunk bed. And no again: we have separate bedrooms!