It was a picturesque day today. I continually have to remind myself that I am living in South France, racing my bike. We were leaving for Holland today, and needed to get a 2-3 hour ride in before we left. Yesterday we had our weekly time trial, which is a 15k flat to rolling terrain course. My legs were pretty shot from the TT, and needed a couple of tempo climbs today to shake out the legs.
As we climbed up our second hill, I just had to survey the valley. What an amazing place! The valley is perfectly landscaped with just the right shades of colors. Everything has its place. The plots of grass, to the acres of safflowers, and rolling hills of the ancient vineyards are all coordinated expertly. Along one horizon were the sparkling Pyrenees, freshly dusted with a new layer of snow. Yet along the other horizon was this mysterious mountain that almost has a comical look to it as its shape doesn’t match the uniform of its surroundings. Its edges are rough and unperfected, and it takes the immaculate landscape and adds an impressionistic addition. It is Magic Mountain, and the locals told us that two Celtic elves built the mountain 600 years ago. The purpose of the mountain was to block the clouds that accumulate from the Mediterranean Sea, and the thunderheads that billow off the Pyrenees. With the presence of this whimsical mountain, Limoux would remain constantly sunny and have optimum weather, and this has held constant even through today. I looked at that odd mountain with a new appreciation for its slight disruption of the uniformity.
It was just one of those days where everything was running so smoothly. As we climbed, we could hear the jingling of the sheep bells as they were running into their pens for breakfast. The historic towns beginning their rumblings of waking up, and a group of six girls, just riding through the cobbles and the streets completed the picture.
This time last year, I was racing the Sea Otter Classic as a Category 3. And now—I am in Europe racing my bike! This is all so crazy. I am so happy to be here, and this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.