Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Bike Ride

The paragliding conditions over the last few weeks have done wonders for my cycling. Sunday was too windy for flying, so I decided to get a decent bike ride up to the Col d'Allos. The Col is just over 50Km away from St Andre, and it is uphill all the way, about 1400m of elevation gain. 

The route starts of barely rising and gets gradually steeper all the way, with the last 5 or 6 Kms being the hardest. It was a lovely ride; starting with blue skies and sun, with the Mistral keeping things cool on the long climb. The first part of the ride passes by Colmars and Allos, both lovely villages, before the bare slopes of the final climb. I finished on the summit under gray skies. A quick snack, a pic, layer up for the descent and I was racing the approaching rain home; I got caught about 15Km from home, but it wasn't terribly heavy.

Wind stopped play...

Flying conditions in St Andre continue to be poor, with a combination of wind and afternoon storms. There are little flights to be had but I don't like playing chicken as clouds start towering into the sky. Apart from 'staying current' with a fishbowl flight every week or so, I've found other things to do. But at last Saturday's forecast was tempting; potentially quite good, but with a high chance of strong winds in the afternoon.

I made sure I got up the hill early, worried it could blow out. The early clouds showed a strong west wind aloft. In the air by noon, I headed N and joined 3 other wings and a sail-plane on Cheval Blanc, all trying to get enough height to head to the Dormilliouse. No-one got high enough over the summit except the sail-plane (who, of course, doesn't need to get very high) and everyone headed back after maybe 30 minutes trying as the wind was getting stronger and the thermals bumpier.

I choose to head back to St Andre via Le Grand Cordoeil. I haven't done a Cheval Blanc to Grand Cordoeil transition before and was surprised at the amount of sink I encountered. I wasn't worried because I 'always' get up on Cordoeil. This time, it wasn't quite so easy, because the wind was blowing about 25K out of the west, making things very bumpy. Eventually, I got over Cordoeil, and had a relatively easy transition back to La Mure, but I decided it was just too windy to land in the Verdon valley.

Given the wind strength, the sensible thing was to land in the super-wide, friendly Thorame valley - so that's what I did. I got a lift straight-away from a local and was home just in time to watch the tennis. 

Log and pics.