Tuesday, 2 July 2013

T2: Morzine to Avoriaz

I was awake about 5am...not jet lagged really but either the body is still a bit out of whack or it thought I needed to get up to train. Alas for me, no bike to train on. 

So I lay in bed until 6.30 instead.

After breakfast I went straight out to the airport on the train to get my bag. I was also VERY keen to tell them NOT to courier my bike when it arrived. By 2pm this arvo we would have been checked out of the hotel and the last thing I needed was my treddly doing laps of Geneve without me. Dnata (my new best mates) promised to hold said treddly on arrival from Dubai and I promised to be there to pick it up directly. 

So for me now - mini fist pump - back "home" on the train again for a shower, fresh jocks, new clothes and out to see the sites of Geneve on what was turning out to be a beautiful day.

Come 1pm, let's just say I was getting tense. What if Raptor didn't want to stop visiting camels in Dubai and missed the jumbo - that would completely throw out the tour with Rob Diamond. The other 9 chaps had left in the bongo wagon for Morzine at 11am - with their bikes - and so I headed out AGAIN to the airport, this time with Antony in the car. 

It was a nervous wait. 40 minutes after Emirates EK89 arrived from Dubai - still nothing on special luggage belt 9. A quick chat with a dnata chap confirmed a conveyor belt malfunction!!! Dude - are you kidding me? Have I not suffered enough?

43 minutes later, I was finally reunited with the Raptor. Elation. 

The 1 hour drive up to Morzine was uneventful, albeit beautiful. As soon as we got there the other boys were just returning from their orientation ride to Avoriaz and there was about 40k to go in the Tour. 

I couldn't wait. The Raptor had to be assembled right there and then on the soft green lawns of our hotel. I had it done just in time to roll down into town, find the pub and catch the last 5 minutes of the TdF stage. 

Then for the main event of the day. My first ride in 10 days (my longest time off the bike in about 2 years) and with body at about 80% - je'ascend Col du Avoriaz - solo.

It was nothing short of magnificent: big, perfectly shaped and dense alpine trees; cows grazing on impossibly green meadows; popping out of the tree line into the beautiful sunshine at 6.30pm to be greeted with snow topped peaks above the ski village; and tapping away at 150bpm up an average 7% gradient for about an hour. Hooray for the 28. 

The reward was this (suckerrrrrsss):

The second reward was the descent - magnificent technical lines, hairpins and the satisfaction of knowing that I put the bike together properly because the brakes worked!

Safety back at le Sporting Hotel, our culinary senses were delighted with a 5 course dinner: cauliflower soup, salmon with green olive tapenade, veal with mushrooms and green beans, cheese, and if that wasn't enough - fruit and custard flan. Tres Bon!

Tired, I fell into bed. The ol' glutes will be sore tomorrow as we tackle over 30k of climbing and 2,000m+. Ah well, somebody's gotta do it. 

Nothing much to report in the Tour. RadioShack Trek in yellow. 

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