It is starting to become a bit of a tradition; Anthony Hart and the Ant Hill Mob opening up our cycling season. Taking advantage of our weekend concept, they arrived on a sunny Thursday evening. This year however, the other Ant, in the form of a big, bald, Cypriot, came out a day early and we don’t need to be asked twice to go out on a pre trip ride.
Thursday was hot, unseasonably so, 31 degrees on the south facing bends of the Croix Fry. Ant Marcou sped off with his characteristic high cadence. It is true that if you have a big heart, this is a great way to get over the mountain. You rely on your big muscles and this saves the legs. We had to let him go, knowing your limits is important and we did not want to blow up. Luckily, though, for my bragging rights, Ant did slow up, and my steadier pace meant that I reeled him in. Phew!
We treated ourselves to a burger at the Mazo, always a treat, and then it was time to welcome the other 5 (Ian, Ant, James, Stu and Roger). Three of them had bikes, two rented from our friends at Cyclo Aravis. Brand new, Cannondale Synapse’s – they had no excuses!
So, this is when the mountains mess with our minds. Friday was forecasted to be a bad weather day, this meant that we did not plan a big ride and decided that a quick warm up the Col des Aravis was adequate – let’s just see what the rain did. Well, whilst in the café after the climb, this rain turned into snow, and it settled. Summer to Winter in 12 hours! This was crazy.
Having the van meant that we could load the racks and took the safe option back down to Saint Jean de Sixt to get lunch and watch the Giro. Nobody was disheartened as summer was forecasted for the next few days.
Three days followed with perfect weather. Ian was as strong as usual. James, new to the group, was very capable and by his own admission, a few kilos lost and he would be very fast. Ant and Roger both strong, with a special chapeau to Stu, who has improved remarkably from last year.
Forclaz, Croix Fry, Semnoz and Colombière in three days is not a bad effort. Fuelled in the evenings by the Mazo, La Peille and peaking with La Cabanon restaurant. It was as good as it gets. If we do not say so ourselves, we are perfectly situated for weekend cycling.
With plenty of groups to come, we are looking forward to summer 2015.