Made my first alpine trip last week. Switzerland in a mates chalet.
I have no previous alpine experience and an "inappropriate" bike (steep head angle, no uppy downy seat post etc etc..)
Either way on day one I go a bit bonkers and find myself at the top of a 2950m mountain and eventually find a way down to 1475m. Long story short, scared myself a fair bit and got some insight into the reasons behind slack angles and suppy downy seat posts etc.
The evening conversation with locals reveal a very nice woman saying that her husband would like to go cycling but has no one to go with.
I know, I know, I've heard it all before. I am starting to lose count of the number of casual cyclists who "quite fancy someone to ride with". The bastards.
They are all high speed super-fit bandits and this guy was no exception. Being acclimatized, living at 1500m above sea level he completely kippered me on the 8k, 700m climb to 2250m.
At one point as I desperately sought every ounce of oxygen from the rarified air, he was in the middle ring (me granny) while chatting and sending a text on his phone while riding one handed up a category 1 climb.
I have rarely felt quite so out of my depth. If ever there was an advert for the effects of altitude (accepting that I am also no climber (too fat) - when I filtered the climb by weight on strava I went from last to first - get in !!) then this was it.
I have since found out that the guy is super competitive and has previously completed the grand raid (albeit the half length one).
I was never under any illusion that Mr. I. Rarelyridemybike was actually Mr.S.Uperfitacclimatisedmountainman but I just wish these buggers would be honest. It was no test for him and made me feel bad for holding him up - I eventually practically ordered him to bugger off and do the ride he wanted to do rather than have me waste his time.
At the end of the day I had a great time. I was slow up but fast down. Mr.Superfit wasn't interested in going down (the last few miles of the Grand Raid race route) and eventually admitted that tetchy downy stuff wasn't his thing.
I am glad I rode but I suppose that in the end I'd rather ride alone and find my own limits rather than have them exposed by others who underplay their abilities for hollow victories.
I will be going back to the Alps. You can't easily replicate 10k climbs/ascents in tthe UK with the level of technicality that is commonplace in the Alps. It is amazing.
Any slow, heavy, old, but stubborn Alpinists out there ?