Monday, August 23, 2010

Cote d'Azur

This being Paris in August.  Nobody is here so I decided to take a quick flight down to Nice for a couple of days of welcome back to the bike.  It's been a little while since I've been riding regularly so I figured I needed a good dose of 10% grade climbs and 35degree heat to remember how much I love the sport.
So Fri night I hop on a plane and arrive in Villefranche sur Mer around 9:30pm.  I open my bike bag when I get to the hotel and see my brake handle snapped off at the top and dangling there rendering the bike inoperable.  Needless to say I was disappointed.  So i went out for a bite to eat and to determine my options.
In the end I took a yellow pages and I called around the next morning to see who was open and if anyone had a super record brake they could sell me.  The earliest of the 3 bike shops within an hour was opening at 8:30 so I drove the 45 minutes to Menton and found this tiny bike shop with two tattooed guys sitting out front smoking butts and drinking coffee.
The owner (less tattooed guy) took a look and said, sorry, you are out of luck.  We don't have those and that brake is finished.  The other mechanic more tattooed guy said, when i pulled a small broken piece out of my pocket that I had saved - oh, hang on, I may be able to jerry rig this temporarily.
Well, in the end he did.  He made a homemade patch and screwed it all together so it worked!  So newly re energized I scampered back to the hotel, changed and hit the road.  The idea being 3 hours of see how I feel as I am riding.
on the decent from La Turbie to menton
So I left Villefranche and climbed up to Eze Village.  Once there I climbed up to La Turbie and then decided to descend all the way into Menton.  Well, once in Menton the options are to turn around and climb back up to La Turbie or go over the Col de La Madone named famous after Lance would test himself there.  I was feeling ok so I hung a left at the turnoff and up I went.  And up, and up and up.  Luckily when I was in La Turbie I had refilled my bidons and had water. I climbed that bastard in 35 degree heat and I realized I had to ration my water about halfway through.  I made it though and as I rolled over the top I had that great feeling of accomplishment through suffering. 

A look back on the climb up Col de La Madone
So  descent into La Turbie and a descent back home to Villefranche sur Mer and my 3 hours and 1400 meters of climbing was complete.  Now to the beach and some lunch.
Sat night ended around midnight after a dinner among acquaintances at a Ranch style Asian restaurant in La Turbie.  5 euro starters, 10 euro mains.  Was tasty.
Sunday morning, legs a bit stiff, a bit heavy but I was going.  I stayed the night in Monte Carlo so left from there and decided I would climb back up to La Turbie then decide where to go.  I took a road I hadn't taken before and as I was climbing I began to think, well, this feels like about a 10% grade, and I haven't eaten yet, and I hope it flattens out a couple degrees.  Nope - extended 10% grades for way too far.  I made it after an hour to La Turbie.  Hungry?  Yes.  Hot? - yes.  OK, a quick iced tea, pain au chocolat and now off to Pielle.  So I climbed back up to the base of the backside of Madone, had a look around and descended back to Monte Carlo.  2 Hours, 700 meters ascent.  Good enough.  A bit of beach, some lunch and at the Airport for the flight back in the evening.  Overall a great weekend to re find myself and the importance of taking care of the body and soul.
oh - and this one is a view from the studio i stayed in in Monte Carlo.