A classic ride with James…

All the Morrisons had been having fun. Jim is a man of many parts: once a drinker and smoker and overweight (by his own admisssion), he has since cycled from John o’Groats to Land’s End, run a marathon, and cooks and eats a vegetarian diet, as well as keeping up a punishing diet of Dartmoor hills on the bike. Every day here he’s been up to something, and has either gone for a hard run up the road for an hour, asked me to suggest harder and harder rides for him (“more hills & longer!”), or gone walking with Mary for hours on end.

Mary, for her part, has had a ball, either on her walks with Jim, or bravely searching out ingredients in the aisles of Intermarché or at Die market, and not least using my French cookbook to create some classic dishes.

James too has been up to all sorts (including impressive amounts of reading and sleeping). I took it upon myself to get him into form for a big ride in the second week of their stay, and James, being the willing trainee, was well prepared for the big day.

It was a route I hadn’t done before: after Col de Rousset and La Chapelle-en-Vercors, it was down to Pont-en-Royans for the epic climb up the Gorges de la Bourne. Wow! What a crazily stunning road! Constructed in 1871 to take people up to Villard-de-Lans, it is a quite outstanding road to ride: the photos in no way do it justice. It’s a must-ride road if you’re anywhere near. And as if that wasn’t enough, the ride back through a lush and sunny Vercors plateau was like riding through some dreamland. AND THEN of course we had the descent from the Col de Rousset to come, where I managed to overtake a motorbike, car, and motorhome in one go and left them (and James, caught behind, sorry!) for dust. 97 miles, and undoubtedly a classic ride, if ever there was one.

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