Building Projects and Calanques

We have finished the chalet build in Les Laix, which looks fantastic – will be adding a full gallery with more pictures soon. As per photos below, we have also started work on renovations in Villaroger and one above a restaurant in La Daille – one of the oldest buildings in the town, and we are about to start on a renovation in Valezan. Lots to do.

Some photos also of the camping trip I did with Sam over the Italian border recently. Last weekend we all went down for a bike race in Calanques near Marseille, the kids tagging on the back of the short race just to give it a go. Making it to the start line was a close run thing, though, as we were staying 15km away and our hotelier was none too keen on getting an early breakfast out. All okay in the end, the kids loved it and I managed to better my time from 2010. My legs were paying for it on Monday.

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Tour De Beaujolais

Some photos below from the Tour De Beaujolais that Lesley and I did last weekend after dropping Sam in Lyon to catch the coach that took him off for his surfing camp on the Bordeaux coast.

Did a very long ride with the cycle club on Sunday, the longest for quite some time – 220km, taking in Col de Telegraph, Col de Galibier and Col de l’Échelle, amongst other landmarks, and crossing over into Italy along the way.

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The Chartreuse and ProBeef

Pic below of me below, second on podium at Les Menuires cyclosportive, as per last post.
ProBeef cycling recovery
Traveled to the Chartreuse with Lesley, Rob and Ian last week and did 140km ride with 3500m of climbing. Rob is pictured below with Lesley and his new post-ride-recovery snack of choice – ProBeef (dried strips of lean beef). You can get pretty sick of protein shakes, so a quality savoury alternative is most welcome. I’m getting a bit of a taste for chilli flavour, but have now made a note to not rub a finger in my eye after a mouthful!

It’s a bank holiday in France today and we’re off to a weekend bike race north of Lyon where a lot of the top pros will race in the morning, with us amateurs following on the same course in the afternoon.

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Tour de France, Pennines and Provence

The Bethel Cycle group came over for their annual cycle trip during the Tour de France, and we did a 3-day ride from Sainte Foy to Risoul, our arrival timed so we could watch the finish of Stage 14. Great riding but it wasn’t great weather, lots of rain, which has been something of a theme this summer in the Alps.

Emily has been over in England and did some mountain biking with the family in the Pennines, followed her first pint of proper beer – Thwaites Wainwrights. She liked.

Lesley and I have had a weekend cycling escape to Mont Ventoux in Provence to escape the weather here, only a four-hour drive, and on Sunday I got on the podium in the old fellas’ category of a race from St Martin de Belleville to Les Menuires. I did the 80km short course and it was a miserable start in the peeing rain, but happy with the result.

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A few pictures below from last weekend’s 2014 Ardechoise. We didn’t race but cycled the routes over three days with about 20 people from the Bourg St Maurice cycling club, Lesley coming along with me to this event for the first time. We split in to groups depending on experience, covering 450km with around 9000m of climbing.

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A stormy Col St Martin

We had a great cycling trip down to the Côte d’Azur by way of the Alps in beautiful weather, other than on the climb up Col St Martin above the town of St Martin Vésubie. We hit the most almighty thunderstorm with hailstones bouncing a metre off the tarmac, the temperature plummeting from 30°C to 9°C inside thirty minutes.

Most of us made it to a restaurant, but a couple of guys in the group got separated, one of them diving into a garage to take shelter, the other, caught in no-man’s land, had to slog his way through and was a little bedraggled by the time he got to us. We all had to be bussed down.

We finished the trip with the same number that we started with, and although some in the UK contingent were apprehensive about climbing Alpine cols, they all put their heads down and kept pedaling.

The major building season marches on and we have several clients visiting in July and August.

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Cycling to the Côte d’Azur via Col de la Bonette

We are going full tilt with building at the moment and just going through the contract signing on a major project.

Away from the office, the cycling season is also well under way – I’ve got a couple of races under my belt already, and one in Megève this Sunday.

Next week I’m cycling down to the South of France with Rob and a group of his UK-based friends. It will be a four-day trip, averaging around 130km sideways and 3000m upwards each day. We’ll be taking in some famous mountain passes including Col de l’Iseran and finishing with Col de la Bonette, the highest road pass in Europe, before we drop down to Monaco. From there we’ll cycle along the Côte d’Azur to Antibes.

Understandably, those in the UK contingent that haven’t previously cycled in the Alps are a little panicky at the prospect of daily climbs that are the equivalent to 18 goes up Box Hill.

On the plus side, the forecast for next week is fantastic, although when I cycled up Col de l’Iseran for a look a few days ago it was still closed and absolutely freezing.

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Bike Ride to Chambéry

Had a good bike ride last Saturday, to Chambéry and back, it was a little on the chilly side though (snowing up in Val d’Isère).

Apologies for the brevity but we have had a lot on this week, and tomorrow we are off for two-weeks holiday – doing some diving and sailing for a change of scenery.

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Spring snow still holding out

The run of fantastic weather has continued this week in the Alps, hard to know whether to get the skis or the bike out.

I’ve had some great ski touring outings with the snow still holding up - the constant freeze/melt/freeze/melt has left it beautiful. It has started to melt way in places and you do have to take the skis off to hop across rocks and grass from time to time, but it is well worth it.

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World Schools Ski Champships

Emily had a good time at the World School Ski Championships in Spain, coming 5th in GS and reducing her overall points (which is the aim).

Have managed a couple of goes on the bike in warm weather (probably a bit too warm) with high cloud this week. The snow is still good, heavy in the afternoon.

A couple of recent pics from ski touring in Sainte Foy below.

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