We are just back from one of the greatest bike challenges run out of Ireland. The Irish Hospice Foudation's Dublin to Paris followed immediately by their Geneva to Nice challenge. It was a fortnight of mixed weather and contrasting routes. Summer had n't taken hold in Ireland before we left and the picture was only slightly better in Northern France as we rolled through lush country side on almost traffic free roads. We crossed vast flat plains surrounded by open wheat fields before dipping down into and climbing out of inviting river valleys in which were pretty villages of half timbered Tudor style houses.
Our second week saw us leave Geneva climbing gently towards the not too distant hills. Over the Col de Glandon, Alpe de Huez, Col de Lauteret, Col d'Izoard, Col de Vars and finally the "Europe's highest road", the Cime de Bonnette we hauled our carcasses. Slowly slogging to gain height through spectacular alpine scenery. Scree slopes here. Sheer drops there. Towering rock faces, marmots crossing, hot sun, freezing rain. This is cycling at its best. So many bench marks set; the hardest day on the bike; the coldest wettest day on the bike; the most spectacular and enjoyable day on the bike ever. To roll up the Promenade d'Anglaises in Nice on a warm sunny day and jump into the Mediterranean, bliss. Life does n't get much better than this.