Fellow Wheeler James arrived yesterday afternoon, after a marathon solo drive from Exeter. Most people (me included) would probably collapse in a heap after such an effort, but James likes riding bikes up hills, so he headed straight for Col de Rousset, whilst I created a rather good tartiflette for James and four dinner guests. (Incidentally, tartiflette has the hallmarks of being an old Alpine dish, being made from potatoes, onions, bacon and cheese – but was actually created in the 1980s as a marketing gimick for the cheese, reblochon.)
Sadly last week the weather put paid to my linking up with Wheeler Nikki, who had been staying near Mont Ventoux. We had planned to meet at Nyons (I still haven’t made it there), but with more storms forecast, I stayed local, and Nikki headed off to the Pyrennees (in a car, that is).
And today, Wheeler Richard, staying down in the Ardeche, rode up to Die…during a little matter of a 308km (190-mile) audax. (For those of you who don’t know what an audaxes are, they are organised bike rides, but ones where coffee and cake are definitely in order. In the case of a 300km audax, you have 21 hours to finish it to get your Blue Peter badge.)
To make the most of the day, Richard started at 5am, reaching Die at 11.30, where James and I met him at Banette, for, er, coffee and cake. We then rode with him for the next two hours or so, up to Col de Lescou, at the head of the Roanne Valley. At that point Richard headed off right towards Nyons and another 127km, while James and I headed left towards La Charce and thence home.
The final tally: James and I did 120km, leaving Die at noon and getting back at 6pm; Richard did 308km, leaving his base at 5am and getting back at 10pm.
And there you were thinking I’m slightly bonkers when it comes to riding a bike…
In the photos you’ll see Richard and James, a couple of snaps from the road from Die to home, plus a rather delightful roadside serve-yourself water dispenser from the Roanne Valley. Splendid.