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Flying High Again
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Forgot the digicam (fortunately) yesterday. Inspired by Swissbuster's wordsmithing, I'll try this writing stuff out for once...

I had planned to take a week's holiday this week, just stay home and do day trips to the mountains and go biking, but the weather hasn't been cooperating. Rain almost every day. And the day that it didn't rain it looked like[\i] it was going to rain. So Thursday comes around, and at 8am I wake to find a perfectly clear blue sky from horizon to horizon. I check the weather radar, and not a speck of showers from Provence to Innsbruck. Cool. Let's go! I wake up the wife and crack the whip and we're on the road at about 8:30.

We make good time and luckily do not get trapped in any traffic jam at the Glion tunnel (which is under construction, closed one way, and is making my summer biking trips to the mountains hell on the weekends) and we roll into Les Crosets at about 9:30. The plan is to ride to the far side of the resort to Les Gets and ride on the DH courses there. This is about 20km away on the French side.

First it's a long ski piste ("fire road") down into Les Lindarets. From Les Lindarets, up to Avoriaz, then to save time, a long road run winding down into Morzine. We catch the Morzine lift and are at the top at about 11:30. It's early but I'm hungry, let's grab lunch. I order a ham & cheese omelette with a pile of fries and Jennifer gets a croute - two slices of bread, covered in melted cheese, with an egg sunny side up on top. (Side rant: who says French people eat more healthily than Americans? ;) Sorry, but this overweight issue in America is all about exercise. People, get off yer asses and do something! )

Lunch over, time to make the final push into Les Gets. We climb up and traverse across the top of Morzine, down by the golf course, and down into Les Gets at the start of the first DH course. It's probably the easiest course in the area, and Jennifer is smiling all the way down. Nice hard packed dirt, a little mud in the trees, but none of this loose rock crap. Banked turns, tight switchbacks, bumps and jumps make for a fun run.

Once in Les Gets, we roll across the village to the next lift which will take us up the Mont Chery side of Les Gets. A few minutes later, we're on top of Mont Chery and can see trouble on the horizon. A band of darkening clouds is rolling up from the southwest, and we can see rain in the next valley over. Time to beeline it back to the Swiss side! We ride the DH course to get down (fun!) and hit the road to quickly get around the mountain back to Morzine. In Morzine, we upload back up the SuperMorzine side, and on the last chairlift up we begin to feel drops. We're still about halfway back to the Swiss side.

From the top of SuperMorzine, we traverse across to Avoriaz and begin the trail down to Les Lindarets. As soon as we hit the trail, it begins to lightly rain. Every km we ride it seems to increase geomtrically until we are about 1 km from Les Lindarets, and the drops turn into bullets - hail! We roll into Les Lindarets and quickly hide under the lift awnings as the hail picks up - pea sized to slightly bigger. All the lifts are shut down, so there is no way home until it lets up. And if it doesn't let up, we're stuck in France unless we want to push over the mountain back to Switzerland. No thanks.

After about 30 minutes it begins to back off and I decide rather waiting for the lift (which would only take us up to Avoriaz) we should climb and ride over to the Mossette lift which would take us directly back to the Swiss side. As we climb over, at exactly the halfway point and the most open and exposed part, the thunder and lightning begin. And I am deathly afraid of lightning. With every step I consider ditching my bike and cowering in a low spot, but the idea of reaching the lift prevails. We're soaked to the bone, and getting rather chilled. We push on and reach the lift. But of course, it's still closed.

The moment we reached the lift station, the clouds began to part and there was a window of blue skies directly over out lift. I explain to the lift operator that we live in Switzerland and need to get back but that doesn't seem to matter. We wait another 15 minutes or so and they begin running the lift to get us and about 10 other soaked bikers back to the Swiss side. On the ride up, we see the results of the deluge. Hailstones covering the ground like stone and built up in little piles as the run-off carries them downhill.

We're both soaked and cold, so Jennifer downloads back to Les Crosets, I tough if out for one last DH run. I arrive just before she does, and can hardly feel my fingers anymore. What's worse, we have no dry clothes or towels. So we improvise with a spare tshirt, mtb jersey, and a fleece vest. Heater on HIGH for the ride home.

As bad as the weather was, we agreed that biking in such conditions (i.e. the pressure to get home) made us ride better and faster. Was it worth a vacation day? Hell yeah!

337 Posts
Mmmmm... Croute au Fromage. Mmmmm.

Ripzalot said:
Jennifer gets a croute - two slices of bread, covered in melted cheese, with an egg sunny side up on top.
I ration croutes to when it is snowing. I guess hail should qualify.

Nice job on the writeup. Old mountainman proverb: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
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