Sunday, 2 November 2014

Andy's Amazing Adventure

Ok, I'm really pleased to announce its time for another guest blog and this one is an absolute smasher. Without further ado I'll hand you over to Andy Pendred:

After reluctantly taking up cycling three years ago to accompany my son on rides, I've gone from struggling up each & every hill to becoming hooked & actually enjoying hills -  although I still struggle up many! I started cycling with the C & D crew in January & found it hard to keep up but slowly & surely over the year I've progressed & can now hang on with the faster group & the Wednesday Vroomers. I've found the C & D riders to be a great welcoming bunch & I felt it was high time to get a club jersey. It turned out that the first time I wore it was on holiday in the Jura mountains, France & one of , if not the best ride I've done.

The ride started in the 'Petit Ecosse' lake area with the sun shining but quite cool with a grass frost. The scenery was stunning with ash,beech & pine forests just turning golden autumnal colours. The rest of the scenery is made up of towering rock faces & meadows with 'Milka' cows.
After climbing for a bit you then descend into Mouthe where you cross the border into Switzerland - thankfully no border guards on duty as I realised I'd got no passport with me! I then climbed steadily up to about 4200ft looking forward to the descent to Vallorbe but some dark clouds loomed ahead & I was soon enveloped in cold cloud so on went the rain jacket & lights. The one thing I had noticed in France was the quality of the roads - even these small mountain roads were better than English ones & the Swiss ones better still.

I had planned on a cafĂ© stop at Lac de Joux but with the cloud still hanging around I pushed on to Vallorbe for a hot chocolate & cake fix. It was then more climbing  back into France through a manned customs post who waved me through. As I climbed out of the valley the cloud disappeared and I was back to warm sunshine, meadows and cowbells clanking everywhere. Next up was the climb to Mont D'or summit 4736ft and this was a corker of a climb. The climb itself is just under 4 miles with some of the gradients being 19 and 20 % with the steepest parts being near the top when my legs had had enough. I was determined not to walk any of it but had to stop a few times to get my breath but I did get there - to a round of applause from an old  guy who proceeded to talk very rapidly to me in French whilst I was slumped over my handlebars trying to breathe. I think he said what a great bloke I was coming over & conquering this mountain in the name of C & D Cycles. He then put his hand on my chest, obviously detected a pulse, said 'bon' & let me carry my bike the last 300m over the rocky ground to the summit !

On reaching the summit the view was breathtaking, above the clouds was a 360 degree view taking in the forests & lakes of the Jura round to the cloud covered Lake Geneva with Mont Blanc and the Alps beyond. After a rest it was a pretty rapid descent and then back to base through another mix of forest,meadows and rocks accompanied by sunshine all the way.

It was a brilliant day, my only regret being it was a solo ride, it was one of those you want to share.
A couple of years ago I could never have imagined doing a ride like this, I hope anyone just starting out who reads this far will realise anyone can do it.

Me again. I have nothing to add other than chapeau Andy!

Happy pedalling

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