France day 5…

So much to report. So little time. It’s been beauty and beast at it’s best and worst. My dear friend, Downer, had a horrible go of it on day 3 that put him in the hospital fighting for breath. We still don’t know what is wrong with him but we know he’s not right. Doc Guv is with him in Annecy figuring out how to get him home, get his heart healed, and holding his hand. Miss and I hung back with him yesterday. His breathe is labored. Our hearts are heavy, he is hurting. Nothing has gone according to plan, yet somehow it’s still going.

Last night we had the best meal with Downer, Doc Guv, Blondie, Andrew Paul, Miss, and Littlest Fricker. We stayed out late drinking Manhattans, French reds, and Belgium beers. We looked at Lake Annecy and the lightning show that God provided without getting a single drop of rain. It was a great end to Annecy in spite of our adversities. Today, we departed the resort town to head to the high Alps and my favorite little village of St. Jean and my friend Matienne. She has taken us in for a third time now in ten years. Her smile is contagious and her son very helpful. They run the best Hotel in town and it’s nothing fancy. We love it.

So, after weathering the storm, we saddled up around 9bells this morning and made a quick right out of the hotel and then another quick right onto the days first mountain, the col de la Mollard. Miss and Annie were with me on their ebikes. It was amazing. Miss worked hard and inspired me to work harder. I have to admit having my girl beside me on the first climb had me pumped up like never before. I kind of felt like we were back in college and I was trying to woo her all over again. She looked great and was with me in one of my favorite places, not because it’s her passion, but because she shares mine. We rode together almost the entire 14 km up. She and Andrew would stop to take pictures while I labored along. They would catch me in no time with their “turbo” mode. My adrenaline would kick in every time I could hear them coming up behind me. It was freakin’ magic. We had pictures at the top of their first alpine summit, plunged down a very scary descent, and at the bottom, they turned for the barn, while Blondie, Fricker, and I turned toward the summit of col de la Croix fer (Mountain of the cross). Glorious suffering ensued. My legs screamed, lungs seared, and somehow my heartbeat found my ears. I was miserably hot, nearly spent, and loving every minute of it. The summit was cycling Heaven. Period. There must have been 40 cyclists from all over the world congregating and rehydrating at the lone pub perched at the top. It was beautiful. We took pictures, talked to young and old, and took more pictures. The snowy peaks and blue sky made it all worth the sweat and strain. All the way back down the 30 km descent, I kept thinking of Downer and missing his presence. He will be back with us soon, I know it.

So, for now, Miss and I are getting ready for a well deserved nap before doing some laundry and then dinner on the side of a mountain with friends both old and new. It’s been an epic adventure five days in. We have four to go. Bon jour pussycats. Get well soon, my friend Downer. We missed you today. Yes. You were missed.

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

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