Monday, 29 August 2011

All change

After last Saturday's hot mountain bike outing with Pat, temperatures remained in the 30s until  Monday night when we felt a change in the air. Clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped and come Tuesday it was back down to the mid 20s but with blue sky again. It was perfect weather for a running circuit from the Col de Chioula above Ax-les-Thermes that I have had ear-marked for a while. The tracks and paths were dusty dry and despite the cooler breeze that was drifting through at 1600m, the sun was still blazing hot. The views from up there were just stunning - it's a truely beautiful corner of the Ariège.

We were heading in the direction of the peaks that are in the centre right of the photo below, going via the Col de Pierre Blanche, the Col de Balagues and the Roc de Quercourt, picking up the GR7B for the return leg.

It was a good, steady run out which totalled 20kms/630m+ but I could already feel the onset of that creeping weariness and fatigue that would dog me for the rest of the week. The dog was also very very tired by the time we made it back to the car - the run had taken a lot out of him, but he would bounce back in no time.

The day after the run, I relished doing very little but had to take advantage of the good weather on Thursday to do a short mountain bike route from the house, but it was all too much like hard work. I was quite relieved on Friday morning when Pat rang to cancel our planned mountain bike outing over at Esperaza due to a broken little toe (ouch!)! Instead, I headed to Lavelanet market and had a generally lazy day.

Saturday morning, we packed boxes and crates and loaded up the van and also the Astra before heading back up to Pissou where the whole lot was duly unloaded and some of it put away. We leave here, Fougax, this week as it is silly to be paying rent for the place when we intend to spend much of the autumn and winter away travelling in Sadie. I am going to miss the area and the ease with which we are able to get out and do stuff. But the opportunity to travel in Sadie, biking and running and walking all over France and indeed Europe is quite exciting!

Yesterday, Sunday, it was another beautiful day and I had to get out, even though I was still feeling very low and weary. I did a very gentle 10km loop from the house, walking all of the uphills and running the rest of the circuit at a gentle pace. This morning we were talking about doing an easy roadie ride or mountain bike circuit but somehow found ourselves committed to doing a 70km/1100m+ roadie loop up over the Col de la Lauze.. like you do! It's a route we have been wanting to do ever since we drove over the col a few weeks ago. The gradient is nothing too serious and the scenery is just spectacular. Here, we are looking towards Roquefixade in the distance ....
... and here, we are looking from Roquefixade back towards Mont Fourcat and the little road that contours the hillside beneath it, along which we had just cycled
A cracking circuit, albeit a tad 'lumpy', but I think it did me good!

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