Ant king: A tail of the alps.

For those that don’t know I traveled to France for 23 nights to do some cycling, kayaking and climbing.

I arrived in Geneva to a heavy downpour and little light. I cycled out and found a nice place to spend the night en route to Chamonix. The night was very wet and I was glad I had a bivy bag, although I did learn that you have to sleep with your feet above your head to stop the water from trickling to your feet and making them cold 😦

hungery, eat snail

I spent a night in Chamonix hoping to meet up with some climbers, unfortunately the main season hadn’t quite started to I headed to Grenoble. Grenoble is a very scenic city with much to do. I treated myself to a warm shower in a hotel room. It was nice. Bathing in random rivers is not for the fainthearted, especially as some of the streams were alpine G3, and no I did not wear a helmet or BA 😛

bat cave, awesome place to sleep

You can prepare for most things when touring on a bicycle. Unfortunately you cannot prepare for things you do not take into account. My maps got wet and turned into soft gooey mush.

From Grenoble I met up with a random cool French cyclist, who was not wearing any garlic, he told me Briancon was a long way away, which came as no surprise to me. I assured him I had a lot of spare time on my hands. We cycled together for most of the day and he taught me some French before pulling a U-turn to go home.

I arrived in the Argentiere campsite briefly and talked to a couple of nice lads from Bath who let me look at a map of the area and I decided to go to do the Chat.Q. Via Ferrata. I did the climb in what must have been a record time (it started to rain on me) and then left to head back to Argentiere. The route back I saw a sign for Briancon and followed it. This bloody road did nothing but go uphill for 20 km. For those that do not know, I was climbing Col de Izoard one of the routes on the “Tour de France.” Anyway, cut a long storey short, do not walk on cycling cleets as they then break and you cannot clip in. Meaning that cycling becomes very painful as your feet slip off pedals and max out onto concrete. I spent a glacial night at the top of the Col before riding into town below. I rewarded myself with half a kilo of cake; I like cake.

I returned to Argentiere campsite to randomly bum of other Unis and to make some new friends.

(<3 Noj, guy with 10 names, Birmingham, Uea and Struph)

Cool Unis :

Birmingham, UEA, Warrick.

I at this point took up a challenge to sleep in a different place for the rest of the holiday, as I had already been doing this for the first week! Although I had a good start and finish, I got lazy half way and slept in the gazebo for 2 nights in an row 😦

Eventually the Liverpool contingent turned up and I _motivated_ them to do some rivers. I hope someone who took photos from this week can write up a fuller report as I feel this one will be long enough!

Eventually Dave arrived with some maps. We got really drunk, like the Romans, and made a plan.

99421

This plan was pure torture; we capped Cul de Izoard, Cul du Lautaret, Cul du Gailbier, Cul du Telegraphe, Cul de Iseran, Cormet de Roselend before collapsing onto a train headed for geneva. We came to some general conclusions, Dave would leave me behind on the flat, but I would leave him behind on the hills. Luckily (?!?!?) for me our drunken plan was 90% hill. At the top of one of the Cols we were told that we would make it to town in an hour. Anyway, behind him was a sign saying that town was 50 km away…. Go figure we thought he was being over enthusiastic. An hour later we were in town, not including the time we took in the middle to go jump in a lake.

The temperature during this week was phenomenal, I upgraded sun cream from factor 10 -> 50 and at peak drank 7L of water in a morning. I don’t do hot. Some people overpacked, we jetisoned any excess unlike the owners of these bikes

8

Team cardom could not meet us. So we went for a meal, and oddly enough managed to share a table with the same people we met at the top, the enthusiastic ones! The food was very good. I found a new way of preparing fish, which includes oil, vinegar and a bit of salt. No cooking, so later this week I am planning on some experimentation as If I do give myself food poisoning at least it will give me something to do for a day or 2.

I also tried Tripe for the first time in my life. Interesting food, if I see it in a supermarket I will more than likely experiment with some. We traveled to Daves relatives, who put us up for the night and provided food, warmth and conversation, many thanks, if they read this.

I arrived back in Liverpool to torrential rain and managed to find my way back to Smithdown quite easily from the airport after putting my bike back together. Cycling in the rain is much easier than cycling at >30 degrees.

Hope you have enjoyed the read as much as I enjoy the other posts on here.

Lloyd

More pictures in Lloyd’s facebook album

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7 Responses

  1. NIce report
    Good to see a fellow flatlander beating dave on the hills.
    7L of water in the morning but how many litres of beer in the evening?

  2. […] to seeing everyone’s pics and reports. Check out  many photos on facebook, and Lloyd’s tour-de france report: snail-bothering, tripe-tasting, muscle-torturing adventures. If you want to write your report about the whole trip, or about just one bit,  go for it, there […]

  3. Love it!
    Altogether you are getting worryingly fit and lean, glad to hear about the cake

  4. Before I reset my computer dooby, thingy whatsit, I need to write down the stats so…

    Riding time 23hr34min
    Distance: 382.72 km
    Average 16.2 km/hr
    And apparently my maximum speed was 141.5… last realistic one I saw was 62.9 km/hr

    (Should point out that these were only the bits Lloyd and I did together… he can probably double it or better over the preceding weeks… and I get to add another 120km)

  5. Top report – but. You didn’t list any mechanical problems, punctures etc (other than your girly slippers not being ideal footwear) Ade

  6. Not much beer, after a half I started feeling lightheaded D:

    Damage list:

    2 punctures from myself
    1 Puncure for Dave
    3? Spokes for Dave
    1 Set of Cleets for myself (N.B. cleets are not for walking/climbing/running)

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