After many months looking forward to this I am back in my comfort zone. I really do love the French Alps and the Tarentaise especially. Not since I first visited Russell, New Zealand have I felt as though this is somewhere I could be at peace.

Maybe not my final days but if it happened that way then it would be a fine place to take my parting breath. I don’t want to sound morbid though as I hold this place with such reverence and it makes me happy, I hope that come through.

It is really special this time to bring my Mum out to visit this part of France. It is good to introduce her to Isabel and Francois also. I think she is slightly a taken back by the place too. I had shown her pictures and described the place many times to her but actually being there is what really matters and brings it home.

So in line with the theme of my blog I had to crank the bike up. Whilst my Mum settled in I went out for a quick spin. There is no such thing as a flat ride in Navette it is either up or down and to get my legs acclimatised I thought I’d go just 3kms up and then drop back through Navette to give myself 3kms to climb back.

Yep, I had forgotten how hard the riding is round here. My heart rate shot through the roof, my legs burnt and the sweat poured off me, and that was in 10 minutes of starting up. It shouldn’t have been any shock to me as at over 1,000 metres above sea level everything is a lot harder.

Still with the pain comes the pleasure and the sheer joy of being out in France on proper roads. When I stopped and caught my breath it was just wonderful to look out over the view in front of me. Across the valley is the Col de la Madeleine, the scene of such heroics from my cycling idols. The memories just ooze and flow round here, you can feel it.

My cycling holiday has begun and I’m all set for what should be a wonderful two weeks on the continent. The Dauphine and the Tour de Suisse plus my own riding, it is going to be awesome in such a special part of the World.


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