The Go Trek – Week Seven

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I started the week on a high – literally!  My friends Kath and Mark asked me if I would do the Col De L’lseran  with them.  The Col is 2,770m and is the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps.  Mark said, “I have a spare bike”, to which I quickly replied, “It’s ok, I can definitely do it on the ElliptiGo”.

The ElliptiGo has gears, there are three models (11,8 &3 speed) and Dave and I are travelling on the 8 geared Go’s.  Hills, even 10% plus are not a problem, the lowest gear allows you to go really slowly and make your way up.

I didn’t take my trailer with me and having towed it around behind for so many weeks not having it made a huge difference to my speed!  I hardly had to use my lower three gears.  It was a wonderful day, spectacular views in the mountains and the ride down was exhilarating.

The next three days were rest days.  It felt strange not being on the ElliptiGo for so long!

Last saturday Dave and I met up again in Aix les Bains.  Eric, the ElliptiGo dealer there had organised an event.  It was brilliant!  The sun shone and we had the largest ElliptiGo group ride yet on the trek.

Here’s a Punkt video riding along the edge of Aix Les Bains lake.

During the time Dave and I were apart Dave hurt his back going down some stairs.  He was still able to ride the ElliptiGo and we adjusted our route slightly as we headed South so that we could avoid some of the hills.

It was good to be riding together again and after our event in Aix Les Bains we covered 72miles and camped out for the night.

Happy to be at the top of long climb...
Happy to be at the top of long climb…

The next day the weather was glorious and that also meant it was incredibly hot!  By mid morning I think we had both got through about 3litres of water and then had to take on the Col de la Croix Haute (1,179m).  Dave reached the top before I did and was waiting with a smile on his face having made it and stuck a tiny “Say Yes More” sticker on the sign.

At the top of the Col!
At the top of the Col!

We arrived in Sisteron early evening and rewarded ourselves with pizza!  Sisteron is gorgeous and the castle that is built above the town is very impressive and worth a visit.

Both feeling recharged after dinner we decided to carry on that evening and try and find somewhere by the river to camp.  We covered another 10miles and it was beginning to get dark.  We looked at some woodland to camp in and just opposite there was a house, with someone looking at us through the open window ….so thought I’d go and speak to the owners.  Sarah came to the gate and within a couple of minutes we were being invited to camp in their garden and take a shower!  The owners, Sarah and Vincent and their two sons (Leo and Tom) made us so welcome and it was so good to have a shower!!!

Gorgeous family!
Gorgeous family!

In the morning we all had breakfast together and Vincent generously gave me some of his homemade fruit jam in a small jar – the ideal size for popping in my trailer!  We said goodbye to our new friends and I hoped I would see them again soon.

Dave’s back was not improving and after some discussion we made the decision to ride apart for a few days until Nice.  It’s never my first choice to separate from a team mate.  But it was important to Dave that he could go at his own pace and take care of his back and also at this stage in the trek if the 3000mile mark was to be hit it required longer days and more miles.  So for the second time we were saying goodbye.

Honestly, it didn’t feel great.  I didn’t really have a plan but what I did have was a goal to do more miles and Mark and Kath.  Mark and Kath are two of my best friends and they know the area well.  I called them and Mark soon had a list of places I must visit and by mid morning I was on my way to Gap, heading East!  I also had several people who knew exactly where I was and who could get to me within a short time.  Although I probably would be fine, travelling alone is different and this made me feel much more secure.

It was a very hot day!  I called at a supermarket and brought some essential supplies and then soaked up the incredible views.  Standing up and being about 8ft tall travelling by ElliptiGo is the ultimate way to get a perfect moving view.

I wanted to camp at Lac Serre Poncon but also had time to do more miles so I headed towards Briancon … and then came back to the lake…  having done 104miles!

It was almost dark, I had a quick bathe in the cool water – it was bliss – and then pitched my tent.

I didn’t sleep for long and even after a 104 mile day I felt good and was ready to go bright and early the next morning.  Breakfast was a treat, a cup of tea and bread with Vincent’s home made Jam!

It was a scorching day – 38’c!!  It was also one of the most stunning days of the trek, I travelled over several Cols and made slow progress, but I knew what goes up, must come down!!  and when I reached Digne having done over 80miles I looked at the map to see if I could find somewhere to sleep at the 100mile mark, it would be a 14hr day but I felt I could do it, especially when I realised the 100mile mark would take me back to Sarah and  Vincents!!!  About 10miles from their house a car drove past and someone was screaming “Squash” and waving out of the car window!  It was Sarah and her son Tom!!  They didn’t stop as the road was busy but soon I arrived at their house and Sarah greeted me with “Tom said I hope Squash will come back and stay!”.  It was so lovely to see them and I felt at home, we ate fresh strawberries from the garden and celebrated another 100mile day!

Another century!!
Another century!!

The celebration didn’t last long, a message from Dave suggested that he would make it to Nice but probably not further.  His back wasn’t improving.  The next day I would be following the route Dave had taken – it felt good we’d be on the same path again – there was a chance I could catch up with him.

Tom was off school the next day but was up at 6.30am and showing me how to make home made Pain au Chocolat!

Tom teaching me the art of home made pain au chocolat!!
Tom teaching me the art of home made pain au chocolat!!

This family really made this week special  and I’m so glad they said “Yes” when we asked for a camp spot!  Thank you all…

The route to Nice was through the Verdon region.  There were a lot of Cols to climb but the downs were incredible – here’s a Punkt video I made to share with you – I think this is one of the most stunning places in the world!

Just before Nice I hit 100miles!!!  Three 100mile days in a row, each day 14hrs, each day stunning through beautiful France on the ElliptiGo – the machine that I can just keep GO’ing on – this was my first ElliptiGo hat trick!

I caught up with Dave soon after.  Happy to have made it through the mountains and to the most Southern point in our journey at almost 2000miles he had made a decision.  He would not be continuing the journey to Paris.

Whatever you do in life, your health should always be the priority, that said it’s not always the easiest choice to make.  This is Dave’s blog about his decision.

It feels very odd that I’ll be without Dave for the final few weeks.  I am disappointed but also understand the importance of  making the right choice at times like this.

I will be continuing the trek – but I don’t feel like this will be a solo effort.  There are so many people being incredibly supportive and I am very grateful to you all, thank you.  ElliptiGo are pulling out the stops to ensure that I have people joining me along the way and that the Go Trek will continue with the same spirit and energy.

I said “Yes” to 3000 miles and I’ll be GO’ing for the distance before I reach Paris on the 5th July.  If anyone can join me on route – I’d be delighted…

One of my biggest motivations for this challenge hasn’t changed – 3000 miles for £3000 for the charity Coppafeel  – Please, please help us to raise this amount, we’re asking for donations of £3.00, but if you’d like to give more that’s fine too!

Go and fix that back Dave!
Go and fix that back Dave!