BESPOKED OPEN LEAGUE
BESPOKED SADDLE SKEDADDLE LEAGUE
BESPOKED HILL CLIMB CHALLENGE LEAGUE TABLES
Here's what you've all been waiting for ...... the results of the hill climb!
Some fantastic times have been set this year and some with room for improvement!
We are looking forward to next years already. See you soon.
One of the local French chaps that is on the village 'committee de fetes' (which helps to organize events in Chalabre) rang our door bell on his way passed this afternoon, so he could excitedly inform us that "the tour de France is going to come down our road and right passed our front door"
The tour has passed through the village a few times recently but not down the 'rue du pont de L'hers' before.
We have five roads coming into Chalabre from different directions but this year we can hang out of our windows and watch Le Tour and all it's caravan of supporting vehicles pass right under our noses, claxtons blairing, horns honking, music playing and sirens wailing!
Roll on July.
New up and running news page - keep checking for regular updates of whats happening and is going to happen.
au revoir x
Surprise! There was a lot of snow as we got off the ferry in Boulogne, the crossing had been delayed because of the poor weather and it was 11am before we dis embarked, the port hadn’t been cleared at all and it was every bit as thick as it had been in Dover, still we were confident it would only be for the first few miles. We stopped and filled up with diesel before we got the motorway and were very surprised to find the petrol station thick with ice and the temperature was still way below zero, indeed it was at this point we discovered that the windscreen wipers had frozen to the wind screen and the windscreen washers were frozen solid, on inspection the water reservoir was frozen as well. Hopeful the engine temperature would de-frost the water as we drove. We doused the wipers and jets with hot tea from one of our flasks and drove on.
Amazed at the sight of snow in France we took loads of photos as we drove out of Boulogne and missed our turn at the motorway. 20mins and 10 euros later we were back, this time fully focused, pumped up the trailer tyre again and set off in the right direction.
The road was clear and dry for about 100 miles but the countryside was white over, then slowly over the next couple of hours the snow encroached on to the motorway from both sides until we were down to single carriageway with soft snow on the hard shoulder and slush on the other lanes.
About 6 o’clock the snow started falling at a good rate and didn’t stop for more than a few minutes until the following morning, by then we were out of sandwiches and tea and were going snow blind.
We stopped at 11pm at a service station to de-ice the wipers again and decided to try and get a couple of hours sleep, we put on a two more jumpers each and both laid out on the van seat, it took about 30 seconds to fall asleep and about one hour to wake up with pins and needles and crick necks. The snow was thick everywhere now and what road there had been was now covered but the weather was not going to improve so we trucked on.
We drove on through the night sometimes reaching a nervous 40mph on the snow, then as the proper truckers woke up and got rolling we would be passed by an enormous lorry every 15mins or so, passing us at their usual 56mph spraying snow and freezing slush all over our non cleaning windscreen. For the next few hours we stopped at most of the “aire” stops on the side of the motorway to clear the windscreen but by 3am the turn offs were too deep in snow to be accessible so we moved ever on and ever slower, Toni was now having to lean out of the side window an pour water from a bottle over the windscreen as we kept moving.
We made the end of the motorway south of Toulouse about 9am and turned off on to the A roads, these made the motorway look easy, the last 12 miles was what would be classed as a B road in Britain and had no sign that any vehicle had been down it that morning.
We had managed to avoid all the BIG hills because of the route we had picked but on these little, totally snow covered roads even the smaller hills were a problem, we had to take a run up, going as fast as we dare on the approach an try to use the momentum our excessive weight gave us to get over the brow before the wheels lost all traction and our journey came to a premature end. This was also true of the deep drifts that had formed on the more exposed parts.
The only other traffic we saw on those last few miles was a land rover and two people skiing along the road, had we not been familiar with the local roads around Chalabre it would have been pot luck several times as to where the road was.
We daren’t stop until we were outside our house and when we finally pulled up opposite our front door it was gone12pm, over 51hours since we had set off, we parked in about a foot of snow and let out a sigh of relief, we would dig it out again later, or so we thought. We’d been parked up for about 15mins put the kettle on and started unloading when the biggest snow plough in France drove down our little narrow road and got stuck behind us. Fuckin hell! Had to dig the van out to let the plough through then got stuck at the end of the road trying to turn the trailer around and had to dig out again, then got stuck at the other end of the road on the tiny hill and slid backwards, jack-knifing across the road as I slid back. This one was a bit more tricky and needed sand and gravel spreading as well as digging, then only a minor ‘stuck’ in the local supermarket car park as I took another run up at parking in front of the house. About an hour after setting off from the house I was back and balls to any other snow plough that may happen by, they can find another route.
My cup of tea was still in the entrance to our house but now had a layer of freshly formed ice on the top, man it was cold.
turned up and helped us unload the van and trailer, the scaffold poles
were frozen into one big lump on the top of the van roof and had to be
hammered to separate but we got everything inside then had a
celebratory whiskey with our mates, good to be home.
The winter of 2009/10 will I hope go down in history as one of the coldest on record with snow laying deep from the north of Scotland to the southern Spain, with temperatures down to -18 in Manchester Kent and central France. So, not the best time to drive 1100miles straight through England and France with an over loaded van equipped with very worn tyres, towing an equally overloaded trailer of a similar weight. But this was our last trip and everything must go, what didn’t fit in the van this time would have to be chucked. So overloaded and with ¼ ton of scaffold piled on the roof rack (a present from Scarboro Chris that was too good to turn down) we tried to set off.
First of all we had to dig out the snow from around the trailer and put
buckets of ash down under the van wheels and a bucket of salt I’d
filled from the bin at the side of the road on West Hill when I’d got
stuck on the way to pick the trailer up, next time we got stuck in the
snow was not until Dover, the motorways were the quietest I’ve known
them and if it wasn’t for the trailer getting a puncture and a lorry
breaking down in front of us when we were down to one lane we would
have been on time despite the snow.
We got down to Dover about 8pm where we had a cheap hotel room booked so we could get some sleep before having to be up at 5am for the ferry, but immediately got stuck trying to turn around in the hotel car park. Luckily an AA van was on site and although we are not with the AA, the man (top bloke) helped dig us out, which wasn’t easy. So we parked where we thought the side of the road probably was and went for a beer before bed.
Needless to say the van wouldn’t move at 5am the following morning without more shovel work, it was only about 50 meters to the end of the icy road before we could get on a quite, clear, well gritted main road but I had to dig the most of the 50 meters while Toni drove. We finally got rolling but as Toni reached the main road the 30 or so Lorries that had just driven off the just berthed ferry happened to be trucking past like their tachographs had broken. Not wanting to stop in the middle of this wave of juggernauts and not wanting to leave me stranded, Toni, undecided, kept rolling along at a speed just fast enough that I could run along at the same pace in the shin deep snow carrying my shovel but not quick enough to allow me to make ground, ordinarily this would be a wizard prank but I was already sweating from the shovelling and after about 100 meters gave up. Toni finally stopped when she saw I’d stopped running and allowed me to get back in the van, as I did the last if the Lorries drove passed. Toni had seen me waving and thought I was waving her on.
We didn’t get stuck again until driving up the icy boarding ramp on to the Ferry.
Still, France would be a different story we doubted if there would be much snow once we crossed the channel. Humm
An update of events and a progress status will appear here soon