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A late post but better late than never. I’ll let the pics do most of the talking but Kate and I went to the PAcific side of Costa Rica in August 2011. We stayed in St Teressa nr Playa Hermosa and had a great time.

  • Surfing
  • Horse Riding
  • Monkey’s
  • Yoga
    We flew to San Jose then took a little plane over to the Peninsula. We experienced an Indian Summer and got great weather with huge storms at night. HUGE storms.

Scorchio, Scorchio, Scorchio = Dustville.

Its just like riding mud really.

First commute for a while…The Bise is STILL blowing into my head. Its nice though as the temp is pleasant so refreshing. Some residual lactic in the legs after last nights 4 x 12 mins of hill pain but was so good to not be in car. I forgot about the buzz sitting at the office after a shower too.

The plan was to get out from work about 5 and try and head out for 3 hrs.

Something got stuffed up so didn’t get riding till 6 but the weather was lovely and warm. I had pretty much decided to just go for a ride and see what I could find. No training structure or anything like that…just for the pleasure.

Well. Within 8 minutes I discovered Lausanne is very steep but with intentions of trying to explore further out I took direct route up. Around the 20% mark. Pretty muscular on a compact. I have a very basic map of lausanne in my head so found the bottom of Epilanges wood by default. Nicely warm now. I spotted a steep road and kept it going.

Bloody hell! The sign said 22% and it went on and on but with winding parts and ‘slight’ rests. Was a very pretty forest though. Topped out into a slightly different spot and found road I had been sort of aiming for. Great views of the lake and mountains opened up. A REALLY stunning and clear evening. Started up a road but it was too busy for my liking. I wanted quiet backroads so turned off and followed my nose. Through lovely rapeseed fields and other rural type settings, pockets of forest, hills. Darlings Buds of May sans horty Welsh Bint and much more spikey Alpine backdrop.

Bombing round a corner I spotted another hill. I wanted to get up that. Followed the sign for ‘tour de Gourze’ just for the name really. The entrance noted a 25% hill marked. Goodness me.

Goodness Me Indeed. It went up and up. Short flat bit to admire the stunning Vaudoise houses and view, catch breath and back to Painsville. I came round corner and rested on the flat to look up. Bang. Straight up and a good kilometre of it.

As I started up a car came by and  the driver gave me a big smile and thumbs up. He whined up the hill in first gear which was juxtaposed with my grunting at about 30 rpm. Reaching the top I was drenched with sweat. Rode round in a circle for a while to gather myself and had a look around.

This is the view

Wow. Back down, around, along. Stunning houses and views. Loving it. Back round above the lake and next to the Autoroute. Surprisingly quiet but just enjoying the ride. Raced a moped for a while and then hammered back through the streets of lausanne which was FUN.

2 hrs, 900m, 40k and a great discovery. I reckon there is a time trial potential from the lake straight up 5km and 550m to the said top of hill. Anyone?

Muddy, muddy, muddy and limestone(y). Made me nervous not being able to walk up parts of the track. It’ll be reet

I LOVE road biking*

*when its, warm, no head wind and on a friday AND definately not as much as mountain biking

Quick 2 x 20 down the side of Lac Leman. Wow. Stunning sunset but road ran out and light went. Love it

If I blogged everything thst happened I’d be here all day so I’ll just do a few words, facts and figures and mostly pics. Safe to say it was incredible!

Beautiful clear, sunny, snowy, cold weekend. No real missions per se just loving the skinning. Saturday up through the trees to top of Bruson. Very nice and I had a buddy in the form of a dog. A quick and seemingly effortless 1 hr 20 to the cabin. I guess I must have done something wrong as the ripped me off 10 chf’s and made out that I was the one trying to rip them off. Still slightly annoyed by their rudeness. A little ski down in the sun towards Sembrancher then skinned back up to take Jasper backout (who struggled with the deep snow). So nice ot be sweating in the sun!

Sunday. Valentines Skin from the door through the forest. Very nice and then we mixed it up with the masses upto Croix De Couer for soup and wine. Tasty. Really stunning up there and a nice steep skin up Shrek.

I took a nap (Wine Nap) and then headed out to get a bit more done. Out of door again and up via Chez Danny watching all the people descending (and a lot of people there were). Really lovely light started to develop with light wispy clouds in the valley. Pushing for a hard effort every 20 mins kept things going and me concentrating on breathing deeply. Felt delicous to be out in such surroundings stretching my body. Hit the tree line and a DynaFit clone passed me as I was changing tunes (Stone Roses: The second coming). Be interested to see how much easier it would be with proper light gear. Didn’t give chase just kept him insight till he ceased at Ruinette. Pahhh.

The colours were really starting to go. 17:12 and the pistes were emptying. It wasn’t long before I was alone. Was definately getting cold but I just kept going. Out paced the freezing shadow and kept in the sun. True golden sun. Chalet Carlsberg came and went as did the sun. I paused for a moment to watch it tip behind Ag. le Tour. Incredible.

Quickly put jacket on, whiped skins off and shot of down the empty slopes felling high as a kite. 1700m vert for the day and 2700m for the weekend. Benchmark for me.

I dropped Kate off at Martigny train station on Sunday morning and had a date with ANOTHER cabin. Cabin Whore is what I am. More importantly I had some serious training hours to put in to make up for my bad boy antics on Thursday. Still a bit tired from it but with a strong mind I set off.

The weather was so and so but I had 2 plans. Plan a) head for ridge and make the Le Diabley or Plan b) lap Gulmarg Trees. The snow was a lot lower so I had to start with a 20 min warm up along the road. Not such a bad thing. The sun was shining and the air was fresh.  Heading up into the trees I kept a steady pace on the well defined skin track (about 5 people had set this, thanks). On and on I went with occasional stops for photos. I watched the altimeter tick over with an impressive rate. 700m/h is more to do with the perfect gradient of the trail than my physical prowess.

Snow got deeper and lighter but the weather was getting greyer. Plan B was on the agender. I hit the fireroad to hear the 5 skiners ski off. The only people I would get a glimpse of. On to the cabin with a hungry stomach. The flag was down so no guardian but its always open.

I got to work making a fire for heat and a coffee. It was pretty cold in there (2050m and -6/7) so the coffee, vanilla slice and sandwich helped greatly. Dried my jackets a bit and warmed up for Plan B.

The weather was grey but not whiteut. Occasional glimpse of Aguille’s of in the distance tempted me. A steady pace following the track to the col and then made my own way to La Mena. Not a single track here. I decided to drop in and go skiers left to try and get a bit of gradient and see what was over there. I was planning on dropping about 300m before skinning back up. I knew it would steepen up and go towards a couloir so I just used my common sense.

What a run! The trees were perfectly spaced with no brush or other obstacles inbetween and with about 20cm of fluff ontop of a firm but springy base. This meant fast but positive skiing. I found a lovely little gully to slash apart. Getting my breath back I put skins on again and back to the top.

I really like doing laps for some reason. Especially when I am on my own. Something practised about it. The skin up was easy and in no way draining. I got to speed up the transitions and hit same trees another 3 times. Each time a new line would show itself.

I was feeling pretty happy with myself but my physical energy levels were dropping but my mind could have gone on for another 3 times. The day however was coming to a close. I followed the others skiers tracks (knowing roughly where they were going and prepped to skin back out if needed) and found delicous clear cuts through the forest. Great skiing all the way down.

I came to the car just as the skies were clearing and the alpenglow started on the high peaks. I didn’t care that the weather hadn’t been perfect as I had got to ski some trees that have been calling my name for a while.

Facts: 1550 vert, 3020 cals burnt, 2 coffees, 1 vanilla slice, 1 Big Roastbeef sandwich, 4 laps of Gulmarg trees, one long run down and very happy man. I celebrated with a delicous doughnut and a coke!