The move has started.
From this year I will partially be based in Girona, at least for a few months. It’s a beautiful city, a mixture of old and new, and lovely people to top it off. Personally, I’m not much for big cities, and I’ve had a good feeling with Girona from previous visits. It’s not bad for cycling either.
This post isn’t going to explain too much about the move itself, but rather, tell of the event which took place during the drive down. An event which may sound idiotic, but upon completion, was an adventure we won’t soon forget.
So, as a quick summary, after already driving up from Girona, Till picked me up from Copenhagen after he had emptied his storage space, and we headed down south around midnight on the 12th of January. We drove through the night and made our first stop at his parents in Germany. We got a little rest and something to eat, before we decided to head out at midnight again, driving towards the location of our “brilliant idea.”
At around 7 in the morning we arrived in Bedoin, France. Quite a few know that this is indeed one of the starting towns if one wishes to climb the Legendary Mont Ventoux, “the Bald Mountain,” recently one of the finishes in the Tour of 2016.
This idea came to fruition on Till’s drive up to Copenhagen, he proposed it and I stupidly, and happily agreed that this was something we should do. We thought it would be epic ascending this legendary climb during a season which it generally isn’t attempted.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into!
It was a “warm” start to the morning at around 8 degrees, but fearing the worst I packed my self in an extra jacket. This I quickly found out wasn’t necessary. It might have been a bit chilly on the way up, but nothing that normal kit couldn’t handle.
We were definitely a “bit” tired after all the driving, but we weren’t backing out now. We had a few delays with punctures, but nonetheless, the climb up the forest was amazing. Just before reaching Chalet Reynard, we got our first glimpses of snow covering the mountain. A beautiful and exhilarating view.
We had a quick stop at the Chalet, and were told that the road will be closed further up. I guess we decided to ignore this. I don’t quite understand French anyway.
Generally, if the wind ins’t howling, the remaining climb from the Chalet is the easier section. That was not the case this time, and we were about to find out why!
Starrting the climb up, more and more snow appeared, but we couldn’t quite see the top due to fog and snow. Yet, we made it to the barrier, which closed the road. With determination, we climbed underneath so we could complete the ride.
It was amazing riding up towards the top. The mountain was covered in snow, but soon, this would also be the case for the road. Riding in snow on normal road bikes isn’t especially smart, but we rode on, trying to keep our balance and a smooth pedal stroke.
The further up we got, the harder it became. The wind started picking up, but we kept our warmth due to being so tense in our bodies. It was only near the top that the thought of descending came to my mind. How were we going to make it down a rather steep descent in snow?
But first we had to meet at the top. It was a quick visit, as the wind was incredibly strong and now the cold was starting to take over.
It was amazing making it to the top, an incredible climb, but the hardest part was yet to come.
The descent was slow, it was all about trying to stay upright. Generally we would have one foot out of the pedal to use as an extra stabiliser and brake. I even got off the bike at times to walk or to warm up my hands as they were in pain from the cold.
Arriving at Chalet Reynard, once again, the hardest part had been conquered. We stepped inside to get warmth back in our bodies and a little something to eat. We were met by the manager, the one who said the road would be closed, and upon finding out we had continued, said something in French which I’m sure meant something in the line of “idiots.”
After a little while we made our way out on the bikes again to complete the descent down the forest. We quickly started getting heat back in our bodies, which also meant we could enjoy the rest of the descent and increasing our speed.
It may have been cold, and incredibly hard at times, but this was definitely one of the most epic days on a bike that we have had.
This marked the end of our cycling adventure, an incredible day on the bike, lasting around 5 hours in total, but we still needed to make our way down to Girona. We were exhausted, but luckily, the drive was short, and I could look forward to starting something new.