Err, yes. It has hasn’t it? I blame real life… its twists and turns and how it had an uncanny knack of kicking me squarely between the legs in 2016 for one reason or another.
So, a New Year, a new start and new plans.
Usually at this time of year, when the rain is lashing against my office window, I’m daydreaming about trips on foot and bike. I have a little notebook full of ‘adventure ideas’. It was a gift from someone very dear to me who, tragically, is sadly no longer with us… last year’s most horrible event.
She was well aware of my ability to stare out of the window and escape and, always a fan of a list, bought me the book in the hope that some of these mental voyages would become a reality.
I was leafing though its pages just after the New Year celebrations and found some notes on two trips in the Alps – a place I’d never really visited save for a rather gloomy school skiing trip in my teens.
The first adventure – on the bike – detailed a trip from the South of France to the north taking on the Route des Grande Alpes in reverse before plotting a route through the Jura and, even, taking on the notorious pavé. A personal Tour de France if you will but at a more sedate pace on a touring bike. The trip was all about good food, good wine, incredibly scenery and very, very testing climbs.
The second – on foot – revisited the Alps for a tour of Mont Blanc, the classic multi-day hike linking mountain refuges. This, again, involved some serious ascent but promised a feast of Alpine scenery.
On a dingy train home last week I chewed over these options again and couldn’t really decide between them… so I settled on both. I’ve selected June for the bike trip and September for the walking tour. In doing so, I aim to avoid the busier periods and, potentially, enjoy more stable weather.
Training has now started in earnest… ish.
Riding a bike at this time of year requires a special kind of masochism. Hail is my favourite. Still, the hard yards now will hopefully soften the blow of, say, the Col de l’Iseran and Bonette.