Index for this trip HERE
We awoke at the start of our 4th week to glorious sunshine, so we were out bright and early on the trails. They opened up another lift, so we took that up and played on trails that we hadn’t tried before, as well as improving on one of the difficult blues. A top-of-the-mountain puncture was no problem as we now carry spare inner tubes! Due to a pro race we opted to have the afternoon off and had a shower.
Well I say we had a shower, but the van hot water is playing up. This meant Mel had to have a “kettle shower” whist I fiddled, and though it started working again its knackered to what I believe to be a flame-sensor fault. So the next morning I spoke to the technical support people and they sent parts out to Valloire, and then I guess it’ll be fun and games getting the boiler out and taken apart… All fun! Its this sort of maintenance I think we all forget – the equipment on Motorhomes takes endless abuse on bumpy roads and in effect is designed for the leisure market – not the use we’ve given it.
We’re still improving on the blue runs, but I have attempted a downhill red which was very interesting indeed. 40% fun and easy; 40% very challenging, 10% thinking I was going to crash, and 10% walking. Bit tougher than expected and probably close to our bikes limits – though currently beyond mine!
After late nights, BBQ and camp fire with our new friends, we decided we are too knackered to push ourselves, so opted for a restful day next to the river in our chairs soaking up the sun and eating ice cream! We deserve it!
The glorious weather continued, so after another early start (and puncture repair) we headed off into the hills again – so hot at the top it is hard to believe it was almost freezing up there less than a week ago. We decided to take on a 10km red run which we did and rode most of it with very few walks, but we must’ve taken a wrong turn towards the end as we ended up near Valmeinier on the other side of the mountain. This meant a long uphill climb on the road to the Col de Telegraph where we got a few bemused looks from the road cyclists clearly not expecting to see mountain bikes on their patch.
After that we split when I did a challenging red and we met up half way and continued down. The red was more challenging than expected, as I’d locked my suspension for the road climb and forgot to release it, and my rear brakes burnt out and left me with no rear brakes… Not sure why they’ve worn out in 2 weeks but there was no braking material left on them at all! Reasonably quick fix and didn’t spoil a very challenging and successful day.
Our good weather continued for the next few days, and great biking followed – both of us now doing a few reds (though walking in the odd place). Not many incidents, but Mel did a great “superman” impression when entering a bog and went flying. Fortunately, I guess, she had a very soft landing in a pile of fresh cow sh*t! She did smell a little but otherwise unharmed. The bikes were both better after their service and even more brake pads! We have even played in the Valmeinier hills too, but these were too easy for us now which shows how much we’ve improved.
Whilst waiting for the boiler spares I took the boiler apart and out in preparation, and the burner is badly rusted and should probably be replaced… But in the end the spares arrived and I managed to get it back together again and it works – hurrah! Elsewhere on this site I’ve got a “how to” guide if it happens to anyone else.
Finally, after a last ride (where I had two big falls pushing a bit too hard!), we decided to call it a day at Valloire and move on. We are actually quite sad – Valloire has been a superb location for both our 2 months snowboarding and our 3 weeks biking. We feel quite at home there, its small, friendly, and big enough – we highly recommend it, and of course the annual pass is an absolute bargain!
On leaving we headed over the Col de Galibier with some stunning views, across to Les Deux Alpes where we had a week skiing years ago. This reminded us how good (and cheap) Valloire is – L2A just felt very busy, very commercial, and not at all homely.
Thus we ended week 4, knackered after a great time in Valloire, but pleased to be in one piece!
To go to week 5 click HERE