The tired legs are spinning but the bicycle wheels are barely moving. The road ahead winds steeply up into the clouds. As I pant for oxygen my whole body is working like a machine fighting to stay strong.
My only lung does not know what has hit it and my chest feels as if it is on the verge of exploding. The vast views below are an easy distraction but I fight to stay focused on my goal of reaching the top. For me, cycling up mountains with elevations of 1800m is a whole new experience. A tough experience.
The boyfriend and I are currently residing in a village in the French Alps and we are surrounded by monstrous mountains. Mountains that sprout up like brick walls, blocking out morning sunshine and watching us from above like a child watching ants crawling about their every day activities.
Over the month these beloved mountains have become our playground. We have got to know them well with the help of our two-wheeled friends. The twists and turns of the mountain roads have surprised us, challenged us and provided us with scenic beauty that is unique and special to this part of the world.
This is a serene place that encompasses all the senses. As you pedal, the rustic timber chalets are lit up with a splattering of flowers, the noisy flow of mountain waterfalls gush torrents, the musical jingle of the bells as cows greedily munch on grass and the invigorating crisp air is a delight to breathe!
We have cycled a road that has taken us to a glorious turquoise lake where the bristles of fir trees dangle over the edge of the water like fishermen hoping for a catch. We have cycled up the side of a mountain that overlooks the valley below and watched people run off the mountainside. Floating like feathers they para-pont their way down to the valley below.
At the top of another mountain sits a lake glistening with an outside eatery overlooking the snowy peaks beyond. On a clear day Mt Blanc majestically stands proud and powerful. Simply beautiful…
We have pedalled up to the heights of a tiny village famous for its goats. These goats happily roam freely on the road, in the souvenir shops and around the cluster of restaurants. They entertain, jostling among themselves and head butting each other.
The clashing of their horns echo as much as the dangling bells around their necks – They like human company and seem to enjoy a good scratch and pat.
The great thing about making it to the top of the mountain is the return to the bottom… Freewheeling down a mountain on a road bike has been a new learning curve for me. A road bike can feel more vulnerable compared to other bikes.
Any hole or bump in the road causes the bike to wobble or shake… After my first couple of nervous down hill attempts I can now say I am enjoying it. The speed and rush of air through my hair that comes from being at one with the bicycle as the road twists and turns rushing you all the way to the bottom is exhilarating.
For each mountain that I have conquered the experience has rewarded me with a real sense of achievement. My only lung is coping with the thin air and the steep up hill grind much better than it did at the beginning. It is still tough going, but I am enjoying the constant challenge!
Now that Autumn has arrived we are pedalling among the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds leaves which are peeking through the many shades of green. This whole area is looking like a ball of fire – Our eyes are mesmerised once again! ( Check out my Facebook page for more photos )