Saturday, October 01, 2011

France Cycling Trip, Part Eighteen

No fancy photos in this post, just sort of a wrapup.

The flight back was pretty smooth. I treated it as a sort of celebration for all that I did. So what did I do?

Distance - 400 miles
Saddle time - approx. 33 hours
Total feet of rise - approx. forty seven thousand

That last statistic is the real killer. A lot of people when I returned were stunned at the lack of mileage, but the insane amount of rise. Yes, I rode my bike through mountains. Some of the most famous and hardest to climb mountains in the world.

As I got on the plane in Toulouse, it hadn't really set in yet. But when I sat down on the plane for the long ride from London to Chicago, I started to feel that sense of accomplishment that I sometimes get. The guy next to me was from Australia and he was also celebrating something, heading to America to see his girlfriend.

This guy was pretty funny and he had - no joke - a tattoo of a tribal art variation of his c*ck on his arm for the world to see. That aside, he was a pretty nice "bloke".

On international flights they have free wine or beer before dinner, then free drinks with dinner. I had a few glasses of wine and it was nice. Eventually my legs started screaming bloody murder. It was most likely a combination of all of the riding plus something to do with the altitude. So I stood up and went to the stewardess station, which was pretty large since this was a 747. The stewardesses were all from Scotland and I loved their accent and they were all basically goddesses with curly hair - it looked like they were right out of Riverdance (I understand that that is Irish, but work with me). I asked them if I could stand with them as my legs hurt and they said sure. More wine was provided. The Aussie guy stood there with me and we proceeded to get mildly intoxicated. It was a pretty fun time, all things considered. Eventually me and Crocodile Dundee wore out our welcome and had to sit back down.

As I sat there, I was listening to some LCD Soundsystem and finishing off my journal. North American Scum came on. I guess that is what I am.

I had written some things in my journal that people had done that annoyed me. I tore out those pages and threw them away. That sort of stuff doesn't do anyone any good. I don't need it.

As I sat there in my half intoxicated state, I was pretty proud of myself for what I had done. Just six years ago I could hardly walk across a parking lot and now I had done something that very few people can think of doing. I had ridden my bike in the Pyranees.

Will I do it again? Yep, next year, most likely. I have already put down my deposit. There may be a trip planned to Italy in the Dolemites so I will have to see how that goes down. But I now know how to train for this type of thing, and what tweaks I have to do to my training to do better next year. I will send my weight careening down a bit more, by backing down the strength training a bit and that will help for sure.

All in all, what a trip. Thanks to the people in France who were nothing but cordial and polite. I think it is a rural thing vs. a city thing. I am sure I wouldn't have been treated as well in an urban setting. But isn't that the way in the US too?

And thanks to Cyclesport Travel, who made it all happen.

A very special thanks to my wife, who helps me get the spare time to train and do what I love to do.

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