Sunday, 9 May 2010

Mountain bike action

It's been up to 20 degrees again today - it's amazing just how quickly the snows are melting. A dent is even being made in the enormous avalanche piles that are in front of the house - I can't wait until I can look out of the window and not see snow and I can't wait until the snow at higher levels has also melted so that I can go running locally again. This afternoon, however, we popped down to Saint-Girons then up the valley to Engomer for a quick spin on the mountain bikes around a 12km circuit with 300m of ascent, partly on easy quiet lanes up to Castillon-en-Couserans with great views up the Biros and high mountains beyond. But the second half of the route which was mainly on the offroad GR de Pays included some short but very stiff climbs on narrow footpaths which tested the legs and the lungs somewhat - it took us through to Audressein and up to Arrout, down to Alas, up again through the woodland and finally a steep, tricky descent back down to Engomer on which I admit I was obliged to get off and walk, the wuss that I am! But my new fatter tyres otherwise did their job and held the ground well offroad which gave me much greater confidence and allowed me to 'let loose' rather more than I would have done before - hurrah! We were back at the car in under an hour. A brief but welcome little outing after our confinement of the past week, topped off by a quick visit to Castillon itself where today was the annual plant and flower market at which I picked up some tomato plants to replace those that I lost because of the snow. I also bought some aubergine, courgette and hot chilli plants for which I now need to find space! I can see them ending up in big tubs on the terrasse. Tomorrow we will start clearing some of the trees that fell last week and tidying up around Pissou with the chainsaws - it will be quite a job but I am already looking forward to building up our wood piles for next year.

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