So this is it. My final full day here in the Alps, and I’m not riding. My knee has decided that after two weeks of punishment it would quite like a day off. But you know what? I’m not overly distressed by this. My shoulders ache like Atlas’ must have done, my thighs scream at me whenever I try to get out of my chair, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s that happily exhausted kind of ache that says “Yes, I hurt, but it’s because I’ve done mildly epic shit, so there.”
I think I’d already decided that yesterday would be my last riding day because it had been such a good set of runs – I’d finally managed a day without mechanical mishap of any kind, I’d achieved some kind of flow, and even hit some hitherto untouched runs. I’d even managed to finally hit that pesky little kicker on Roue Libre and achieve both height and distance. Of course, yesterday was also the day I decided to ride unplugged, some have no Strava data or GoPro footage to back up these outrageous claims, but I promise you, they did happen.
I also took the opportunity to get some proper air on Thursday, and by proper air I mean a few thousand feet of it. Last year I went paragliding, and it was an experience I was really keen to repeat, so I strapped a Frenchman to my back and ran straight off the side of Mont Chéry. The rush was just as good as I remembered – although there’s something quite humbling about the experience – you are, after all, a tiny speck in the vast sky, suspended by a few few nylon strings and an oversized powerkite. My pilot, Arno, decided to throw a few tight (very tight) turns into the mix before landing, showing off his skill as a pilot, before a feather-light touchdown next to the road.
So that’s it. All that remains is to pack my stuff away, dismantle Wilma and stow her safely in her bike bag, and enjoy the peaceful grandeur of the mountains before getting up at the crack of sparrow fart tomorrow for the transfer to Geneva.
What have I learned from this week? I’ve learned that I can jump, just inconsistently. I’ve learned that Alpine Blues are a lot steeper than their British counterparts (and quite rightly so). I’ve learned that I really, really love mountains – the feeling of being an ant in a Cathedral, surrounded by the almost overwhelming majesty of these peaks (but I think I already knew this one…).
Finally, I’ve learned that chairlift dancing can be great fun, and who cares if no-one else can hear your music? Do it – who knows? You might just enjoy yourself.
Les Gets, it’s been a blast. I’ll be back.