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Archive for January, 2012

Cross Country Skiing & La Foulee Blanche

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Cross Country skiing or Ski Nordic or Ski de Fond whichever you choose, I can tell you it’s hard, both technically and energetically.

As we can’t ride our bikes during the winter , I don’t think alpine skiing does much for your fitness as it’s gravity aided and I don’t enjoy the turbo trainer, I thought I would learn to Nordic Ski skating style in order to help my fitness and learn a knew sport.

I bought all the gear so looked the part just one major problem, I couldn’t do it. I went to the beautiful area of Chamrousse with some friends to have a go. With their patience and coaching I got to move a little, progress was made. After Christmas I went up to Alpe d’Huez to have another go and failed miserably only achieving pure frustration. Note to self ‘I am not a good self learner – too lazy’ Enough was enough and I booked some lessons, 3 x 1.5 hr lessons later and being an xc skier became a real possibility. My tutor left me with the feeling that I could progress and to remember its all about technique, it is very difficult to wing it.

I did 12km in Alpe d’Huez and after talking to my friend entered a 20km race, He told me the course was flat so there it was the ‘Foulee Blanche’ the biggest xc race in the area.

Alan and I went to Autrans where it was being held on Sunday morning, the weather not great damp and cloudy. On arriving even though I knew I had nothing to prove being my first race and only being on the skis about 10 times, I felt totally out of my depth lot’s of lycra clad people going very fast warming up, I can honestly say I could have walked. I didn’t and got kitted up and entered the starting pen making sure I started at the back of the other 650 racers! There were as many entrants in each of the other distances: 42,10 & 5km this event was big.

We were off to ‘Land of Hope & Glory’, it all got better from that point. The support was superb and the track started going through the town and then wound it’s way around the woods. I managed to keep skating and stay upright for the most of it, I only knocked one person over and was knocked over once, it certainly wasn;t the carnage I expected.

2hrs & 2mins later I crossed the finish line, shattered but elated 140/194 female that certainly won’t be my last race.

It is definitely just not just for fitness but for doing something new which is very enjoyable, I would liken xc skiing to xc mountain biking, varying terrain, beautiful countryside and v. friendly.

Christmas & New Year at Le Velo Jaune b&b

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Christmas & New Year has been all about eating, drinking, guests, skiing, enjoyment and the our addition ‘Daisy’ the kitten.

The snow might have arrived late but when it did, it certainly came down, the resorts had about 150cm in a week and now we are getting regular top ups, the skiing has been and still is the best I have known it at this time of year, plenty of snow and not too cold. We have skiied mainly in Les 2Alpes as it’s so close but have been up to Alpe d’Huez a couple of times to join friends. Christmas skiing is fantastic not busy at all. New Years day is also a great day to ski, very quiet in the morning as everyone recovers from the previous nights festivities. This week is busy and then it’s quiet again until Febuary and the holidays.

We had guests all over Christmas, we skied with them, cooked a full Christmas dinner and really enjoyed being part of their Christmas celebrations. We went to our neighbours on Christmas eve for the full on French Chrismas meal, Oysters, caviar, salmon, prawns, turkey, potato ‘pasties’, cheese and fruit skewers along with copious amounts of champagne & wine!!

‘Daisy’ seems to have become the star attraction, we had decided to get a kitten, company for Oscar (not sure Oscar thinks so) and to replace William. We rescued her, she had been found in Allemont and handed into the vet. As all kittens she is a bundle of ‘cute’ mischief everyone seems to have fallen in love with her and can’t believe her party trick ‘fetch’ she will fetch her toy mouse or ball back if you throw it for her! So far she’s only broken one vase, climbed the Christmas tree, terrorised Oscar and jumped from the mezzanine onto the dining room table, we weren’t eating! No doubt she will feature in future blogs.

S0 now it’s the start of 2012 as ever the resolutions are to drink less, eat healthier and get fitter, that’s a must by March as we’re going on a cycling holiday. I imagine all will be broken in the next few days!

That leaves me to say, if 2012 is as good as 2011 it’s going to be a great year, Happy New Year to you all.