Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Holy water and rainy water

the beautiful pyrenees.

Our ascent into the pyrnees has brought the cold weather and fog. It's been a shock to system following days and days of warm weather. Has the cooler weather brought relief? not really. the clouds are down to 1400m and when you're here to ride the cols and climbs of the department, the views you hope for are now gobbled up. for the seasoned cyclists fog brings not only damp roads making a descent more percarious, it also affect visibility and when there is an increasing influx of tourists ahead of the week's climbing to celebrate 100 years in the pyrenees, even more dangerous.

the day started rather slowly and took a few hours of deliberation for work through our appraoch for the day. The previous day's travel had taken the tool and Mark was performing well as the "little shit" and Jac may as well had PMT. To make make matters worse, Jac mixed up her transaltion when trying to read the bus time table to Lourdes. We split for the remainder of the day - Mark to Lourdes a la pied and Jac to the Cols a la velo.

Mark came back from Lourdes not with his gammy shoulder fixed but amazement. A combination of naffness and hope. A wheel chair repair man would get a great job. There were people heading into the Grotto where St Bernadette saw the visions of the Virgin Mary. There were people collecting water by the gallon loads. There was also an area where people could bathe. the bathers weren't wearing the itty bitty polka dot bikini. They were in hospital beds, whell chairs and assisted by their carers. There were thousdands of shops selling religious items based on the visions and St Bernadette. But for all the commercialism and naffness that existed in Lourdes, it was clear the connection amongst the pilgrims people was their hope and faith.

More interested in shopping, Jac diligently headed up to the Col d'Aubisque. This was to be a two for one deal with the bonus Col du Soulor along the way. While the temperature was lower, the humidity was still high. Jac passed through lovely townsand admired the misty (que) beauty of the mountains. However 4 km from the top, there wasn't much to see and it was more a matter of keeping to the right and keeping dry. With the Col du Soulor passed twice this year, the fanatics were already camped out along the route. Added to the challenge were the donkeys and cows wandering the roads and Jac's time in the yards at Glenruben got the cows going. Col d'Aubisque would have to be for another year. And so after a warm cup of terrible french coffee and a hot but tacky Croque Monsiuer washed down with a visit to the pattisserie, it was off to Hautacam for the consellation prize. The climb offered views of the Valley and a friend to accompany and lead Jac through the last 2 km. Not a fellow rider but a dog up there to look after the heard.

As we close out for another day on the Team JMC tour of france, the evening has embrassed weary legs, cheap alcohol and people watching as we drank and eat our way through the Pyrenees,.

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