Munster – cont’d Well, yesterday it rained; rained hard. So much so that I’m quite sure if an ark had wheels that would have been my training instrument by choice. Not only did it rain it was also 10 degrees. I can’t say that I would expect 10 degrees in late July but that’s indeed what was going on over here... cold and rainy.
Pretending to take it all in stride and not be too disappointed that during my cycling holiday it was frigid and raining (can you tell just how impressed I am with the weather the past 2 days) I decided to go castle hunting yesterday and scope out Colmar and any bike shops that might be open on a Sunday. Castles don’t close; bike shops on the other hand... when you’re trying to kill time on a Sunday, might as well play good ‘ol solitaire on the computer. France basically shuts down not only on Sunday’s but also between 12-2 everyday for lunch. Point noted for future shopping trips.
Enter EUROSPORT; great channel. Spent a few hours yesterday watching Thomas Voeckler retain his maillot jaune during stage 15 and poor Jens Voight crash twice on a descent. The French seem to be very curious about the tour and each morning at breakfast I see them reading through the local paper and instead of skipping over the part about ‘le tour’ they actually read it and then talk about it. I listen.
After another sleepless night last night, I forced myself out of bed for an early breakfast at 730 where all the white and blue hair’s congregate early on. 9am I was back in bed trying to pass time while it rained and get some much needed rest. At 11, I decided to return to Colmar and search out an Audi dealership to get the CD player in the car fixed so I could enjoy music that was somewhat familiar (French music is the worst) on my way down to the Alps and on to Tuscany. Killing the day was successful, and as I started driving back to Munster, it stopped raining. Hallelujah!
Having just cleaned my bike I was a tad apprehensive about taking it out given the 43km’h winds and the black clouds that were heading in the direction of the hotel but I thought, “this could be it, my last opportunity to ride in the Alsace” so donning my best frigid-frock, I headed to the door. Dropping off the room key with the front desk an old woman that works here mumbled something to the effect of “ah, you’re Canadian, this cold temperature should be something you’re used to”, I smiled then said “putain” under my breath as I rode away...
Fortunately, all my years as part climatologist paid off as I managed a short ride around (and away from) the storm clouds and accompanying rain that ensued. First, up a few hundred meters then down (close to a thousand) then greeted by 45 km’h winds that nearly blew me off my bike. One word; awesome. Managed a good albeit short ride back into Munster and then met the bottom of the climb with fresher-than-usual legs and started my ascent back to dinner. 16 minutes and quite a bit faster than the past 2 rides, I made it up the climb to the hotel just in time for some work that needed my attention before end of day Toronto time.
If today was my last ride in Alsace, I’ll take it; although I’ll be disappointed I didn’t make it up Col du Platzerwasel for the first time since bringing my bike here. That’s the climb I use to gauge my ‘readiness’ (if such a thing exists) for Alpe d’Huez which is where I’m heading tomorrow...
With any luck, the rain will hold off in the morning and I’ll have one last kick at the can and ride myself silly before the long trek down to the rugged, barren and moon-like Alps, such a contrast from the lush greenery of Alsace.
We’ll see what the weather man brings in 8 hours (and if the sandman comes anytime soon).