The middle weekend of June saw a visit from a group of cyclists from the Rank Group, these were joined by Tim and the two Matt’s who were out for a cheeky training weekend before our Tour des Criminels, in the Pyrenees at the end of the month. A typical Thursday to Monday, long weekend, gives everyone enough time to get their cycling legs and do a few outings. Nick, the group leader had two requirements, lunch in Flumet and lunch by Lake Annecy. Now this is something that we can sort!

Blueness

Blueness

It so happens, that on their visit last year, we experienced Brexit and this year, was the General Election’s turn to keep the conversation flowing. The two Geordies, Chris and Ian were particularly pleased with the outcome. So with Corbyn chat we went on a spin of our own. Out, over the Aravis, up the Saisies and then omelettes in Flumet. The restaurant there is a must. Lots like a dive from the outside but go in and onto the terrace at the back and you realise that you are suspended over a gorge with stunning views and what seems like an endless bowl of chips.

 

Then we had to prise ourselves off our seats and attempt to get back over the Aravis. A three col day, not bad! This is when I feel pretty smug that I am in the support van! The day was difficult and conquered by all. However, the next day, the lure of an electric bike was too much for Lyn. I went and did a quick swap and before you could say “mechanical doping”, she was off. The biggest smile of the weekend. I have to say that these bikes are a game changer. They still require you to pedal but make the mountains accessible to all and means that everybody can enjoy the day without feeling left behind or holding people up. Look out for our e-Cheese Classic in September.

A little shade whilst we regrouped

A little shade whilst we regrouped

 

Day 2 was a trip out over the Croix Fry and a loop back around to Menthon, on the shores of the lake. The hardest thing of the day was the heat. But everybody made it. Swimming gear in the van meant that most could enjoy a swim. It was the first, proper time that Gemma cycled in the mountains and although tough, she gave it a great shot. As did Ron, however on the way back from the Lake, Nick and I pointed out that perhaps he should move into the big front cog for the flats and downs. After which, he was flying!

Gemma getting used to the descents! 

Gemma getting used to the descents! 

It is one of the highlights of living out in the Alps when a professional race comes through. Last year was the tour, this year the Criterium du Dauphine. The warm up race for the tour sees the big guns out. Froome, Porte, Aru etc, etc. And this year, this Sunday, it was the final stage and in our back yard. Off we cycled to the finish. The problem was, this was at the Plateua du Solaison, a brutally steep 11km. But with the festival feeling already in full flow, the km went by quickly, albeit painfully. A special shout out should go out to Paul who vastly improved since last year, amazing what a few miles can do.

The Matts watching the Criterium amongst the team cars

The Matts watching the Criterium amongst the team cars

We reconvened at the finish. There was a big screen, marquees, bars, sound systems to enjoy. We settled in to watch how it should be done. It should be mentioned that whilst enjoying our BBQ in one of the marquee’s, there was an almighty bang and a puff of smoke. It was so hot that David’s inner tube had exploded! Always keep your bike shade!

The scene of the explosion, David's tyre just couldn't handle the heat

The scene of the explosion, David's tyre just couldn't handle the heat

With the excitement mounting due to the fact we could follow the race on the big screen, everybody gathered right by the finish line to witness Jacob Fuglsang pip Riche Porte to the overall win. It was an excellent day, one of my best on a bike. Afterwards, we had a stroll around the team cars, asking if we could swap bikes! We then headed bike to Saint Jean. Oh did anyone mention that we had to ascend the Col de la Colombiere!!!

What another cracker of a weekend!

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