Stumbled across some long boat racing in the Alps this week – the Staller Saddle at 2052 meters is a is a high mountain pass in the mountains on the border between the Tyrol in Austria and South Tyrol in Italy and adjacent the road is a large lake used for traditional boat racing – the pass is stunning and connects the Defereggen valley in Tyrol with the Antholz valley in South Tyrol, is very narrow but a great ride – recommended.
Excellent days riding today after an inauspicious start – living out of a Touratech pannier requires a certain amount of OCD and my routine of ignition key storage was thwarted last night in the torrential rain with the result this morning of a lost hour trying to find it… only to have it turn up in my waterproof trousers pocket. Managed about 530 Km today and arrived at Voreppe around 18:00. Stopped in the pine forests near Arinthod to each fresh peaches with only the insects for company and hoards of brown and white butterfly’s – looks like the rain is long gone. Met two old fishermen casting for salmon in the icy waters near Lagineu – comparisons with the Usk remain.
Today started auspiciously enough, turning up like a drowned rat at the P&O port in Dover elicited enough sympathy from the check-in team that they bumped me up to the earlier ferry – just as well considering riding conditions over the Channel. Initially I made good time stopping for mandatory coffee when ever a road side café loomed into the horizon. About 100 miles north of my overnight stop the sky darkened over a period of a few minutes and lightening danced on the horizon north of Troyes. Without a gentle lead into rain the heavens opened and the road became an impassable sea of rocks and mud scattered by oncoming traffic and churned to slurry in the maelstrom – like all good hero’s I took refuge under the canopy of the petrol station and made my way onto Bar Le Duc – its takes a while to get into the rhythm of mileage – tomorrow is a new day and the forecast looks promising.