Day 4 at Bike Village – probably the most eventful ride. Definitely one of my favourite bits of singletrack. We drove up to around 1300m to a small village and climbed on rough roads in pretty hot sunshine to about 1750m.
At the top, after stopping for ‘first lunch’, I discovered my back break had gone entirely. I was able to hold the lever tight to the grip and still pedal! Descending with front break only was an interesting skills challenge! First we headed over a cow field and down to a small stream crossing. This would have been a lovely bit of singletrack but the cows had churned it up when it was muddy and then the mud had set hard in the sunshine.
After the stream, we climbed slightly then traversed along the valley back down towards Bourg and Landry, stopping in a classic alpine flower meadow for ‘second lunch’.
The next bit was my favourite bit of single-track of the whole week. We descended through pine forest with a carpet of pine needles on a series of switchbacks which were tight and a bit tricky but not too tricky to flow around (albeit slowly). At the bottom of those switchbacks, we emerged to find the bridge we were heading for had been completely washed away and the ‘stream’ more of a raging torrent. We were able to cross by holding onto the guides and passing our bikes across, the really big volume tires on my bike made walking it in the flow of the river impossible – it just tried to float away downstream.
Everybody made it across safely, the only casualty was Simon’s shorts which gave up all attempts at covering his modesty, and as we all know, all the best rides involve a washed out bridge and a river crossing 🙂
The rest of the ride wasn’t nearly so eventful. Traversing from village to village along the valley, high above Bourg, until we eventually reached a series of descents down to the valley floor, emerging 2km down from Landry opposite the finish of ‘black 8’ from Day 2. Some of us decided to carry on down the river, away from Landry, to the swimming lake where we had a coke and ice-cream and Jane had a swim before the heavens opened and we had to take shelter in the cafe from a short torrential downpour. The rain cleared enough to give us a quick window to get home but we could still feel the storm in the air and as expected the weather broke spectacularly with an epic all-night electrical storm.
Total distance: 25km. Time: 5 1/2 hours. Ascent 1472m, Descent 2026m.