At last, a chance to ride the Ambazacs in the summer. I followed my usual perfect pre-ride preparation – good food (thanks ‘azel), and a skinfull of beer. My riding partner as usual in the Ambazacs ‘Paul the Painter’. Our start point was St-Goussaud and we were gonna do FFC route 13, a black grade route of some 33km. It was warm and sunny, but not too hot, and I felt funky as we pedalled away. The first descent gave my brain a wake up call. Huge rocks everywhere, made it down more by luck than judgement.
Over the next few kilometres we rode some super sweet sweeping singletrack, some boulder strewn ball breaking sections, and the scenery was stunning. The wild flowers, the birds, the greeness, and challenge of the trails… I was just floating along. We crossed a river below Chaurverne-Neyre and started a long climb along the valley side. It was granny ring stuff, and quite tricky, requiring full concentration. As I rode up it the smell of the pine trees lifted me, I felt great, and the faster I went the better I felt. The climb eased a bit, and the view opened out as we climbed above the tree-line. Up into middle-ring and out of the saddle racing along as though someone elses legs were doing the work. Up a final loose rocky section bursting out onto the top full of the joys of cycling. If you can’t do this stuff you ain’t lived!!!
Paul arrived at the top some time later. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t feeling that good!!! Too bad, we just seemed to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. As a friend and fellow cyclist I did my duty, over the next couple of hours I pasted Paul on every climb that we came to. As I explained, it wasn’t a malicious thing, it didn’t give me pleasure, but it was my duty, and I felt so damn good I couldn’t stop myself. Paul is a younger fitter man than me, and knows that his turn will come, and he’ll pay me back. I can’t wait 😉