Big Bird under Darkening Skies

It’s a windy wild, but mild morning with the threat of rain later in the day. I’m in training, as you know, and it’s gorra be done. I decide to take Big Bird up to Cognac le Foret for a couple of hours hard graft.

I set Big Bird up XC stylee. Which means, I raise the seat and put a bottle in the cage, and I’m on my way. Down through L’Age, up past the farm shop where we get our fresh eggs and milk, and on towards St Auvent. As I pass through the farmyard the friendly old dog with the scabby eye greets with with a bark and a wag of his tail. There’s no one else around.

This way to the Ancien PavéeAfter crossing the main road there’s a nice little singletrack descent that I like to rattle down. It’s fairly easy, but usually a little different each time depending on where the weather has moved the leaves and rocks to. I spill out onto the valley road and continue toward St Auvent. About a kilometre from the village there’s an old bridge that leads onto some ancient pavée that climbs into the town. It’s granny ring steep, and quite tricky when damp. By the time I reach the top I’m breathing hard.

Through the village and left towards St Cyr. Not a soul about, not even the Donk of a dog near the bar. Donk is a huge single brain celled dog who has a little buddy who acts as lookout. Normally little buddy sounds the alarm which activates Donk’s brain cell, and thirty seconds later Donk deafens you with his bark. I’m so busy looking for them that I catch an edge and shoot myself towards the storm drain. Doh!

The final climb to the top of the forestThrough St Cyr, and from here to the top of the forest above Cognac le Forest is about 3km trending uphill all the way. It’s not steep, but with today’s headwind it’s hard work. The final climb through the clear felled section is blustery. It’s one of those days where it feels good to be out. Once at the top, I take a quick look at the panorama and point Big Bird downhill.

There’s some really nice descents from here. Today I do one that goes down past the aviation mast then climb back before racing down through the forest to the Plan d Eau at Cognac. The lake has been drained for the winter, and what is a busy beach for holiday makers in the summer is deserted.

It’s spitting rain now, and I turn for home. The rain gets heavier and heavier, but with the wind on my back Big Bird is flying, and it’s mostly downhill all the way home. Mashing along the singletrack at the edge of the forest, down past the equestrian center, hooning along at what feels like warp speed. Crossing the main road, and diving back into the singletrack, a big sweeping left hander, railing around the single rut getting whipped by overhanging branches, pain and pleasure at the same time.

Down the last couple of kilometres on the road I’m topped out, spinning a la moulinex. Just over two hours on the clock. Time for a nice cuppa while I zap my legs. Meanwhile, it’s gone black over Bill’s mother’s, and the rain falls heavy. 🙂
Rain on the patio

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