I am a little disappointed.  I had an epic entry planned to tell all about the last couple of days here in France.  I have been travelling around, and have taken a lot of pictures, and wanted to share all the beautiful things I have been seeing.  I got home tonight, got all excited to plug the camera into the computer…then noticed that I left the connector cable for the camera-computer is somewhere in the ‘outskirts’ of Paris.  Oh well.  I have ordered a new one, so pictures will be delayed, but will posted next week.

I had so much fun on my bike on Monday.  It was an easy recovery day, so I was able to “play” on the bike some.  That was good for me to go exploring around Limoux and stop and smell the roses.  Not really roses, but the numerous kinds of wildflowers that are in full bloom here now.  There are these vibrant red poppies that are so vivid, they just pop out of the rustic scenery.  Wild thyme, sunflowers, you name it…

On Tuesday we went to the track for some testing.  We drove to the track at stopped in the town of Vals.  Chris is not only a national level cycling coach, but he also runs a hotel here in Limoux that specializes in trips for cyclists as well as artists.  This week he has artists that come from all over the world to stay in Limoux at his hotel. http://www.lemonastere.com/limoux.html He knows all the places to go and great painting destinations (which are always excellent cycling destinations as well).  Anyways, we stopped in this small town (by small I mean this town as 67 inhabitants). 

Chris has never stopped to amaze me by taking us to all of this great places of interest, but this by far was the best so far (until later in my blog).  The Eglise de Vals is a church that is literally built into the rock.  Some of the rock shelters built around this church are dates back by archaeologists to 1500 BC.  The church basically transformed throughout the years from Druids in the 9th century BC (Marsha you will like that) to the Middle Ages to Romanesque to a obtaining a steeple and stained glass.  This church covers so much history as it changed over the years.  There are some frescoes paintings of the disciples on the ceiling of the church from the 12th century.  The church is a true marvel, and I was so excited Chris took us there to visit his artists.

On to the track we went for some painful testing on the pursuit.  We did some pursuit drills to get power data to see the power we can currently hold for the 3k pursuit.  Track is a funny thing.  You warm-up, sit around, go really really hard, and then sit around again until it is your turn to kill yourself again.  I haven’t quite determined what I think about it, but I will take a shot at the pursuit eventually–why not?

We road the 95k back from Foix, where the track it (which has a stunning castle within the town) to Limoux.  It was everything riding in France should be. Point to Point. Epic scenery. Varying terrain. Slightly downhill and with a tailwind.  We loved it.

Yesterday, we did our last TT for our time here.  It was the time to do personal bests.  I rodefor a couple of hours before the TT and was pretty sore from my testing on the track.  Chris brought out his TT bike for me, and had his SRM on it to get the data from my TT.  15k, out and back, but with that screaming bike, I had no choice but to try to go fast.  I got my PR, but my legs were officially cooked.  I rode another hour or so with Devon afterwards to cool down and discussed her thesis for her PhD in Economics from U of Chicago.  Very interesting.  She is doing statistical analysis of the role that high school sports play in students’ academic performance. 

We got home from our TT, I was bonking and in need of some serious creme brulee.  But then, in walked Amber Neben into our Kiwi House!  The current World Champion TT was in our house to come take us for some cafe in the square!  It was awesome to meet an Olympian, a Champion, but also a Christian and a very inspiring person.  I was thrilled to spend time with her.

Today, Chris mapped us out another epic route, and we rode from Limoux to La Mer!  The Mediterranean!  Now this was what I was looking forward to!  We sent our swimsuits and towels with Chris, and then we roade the 104k over the most scenic terrority I have ever covered.  We climbed 13 hills and then all of a sudden we saw the crystal blue waters of La Mer.  Then, we still had to ride 12 miles into the town of Leucate.  A quiet town witha white sand beach and beautiful villas on the hillside.  I think I will move there.  We played in the sea, and had some glace (ice cream), followed by some chocolat chaude.  It was such a beautiful day, to ride 4 hours and maybe see 5 cars?  Tiny roads, warm air, a great bike…I was a happy girl today.  But, instead of improving on my tan today at the sea, all I seemed to do was solidify the very apparent cycling tanlines that I already have obtained.

Tomorrow we race.   I am ready.  It will be our last race in France, so I will try to make the most of it.

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