Tuesday, February 17, 2009
When I used to live in Nottingham I had plenty of 4am training sessions before full time work teaching and then at night trying to help Ian get AQR Holidays off the ground. I look back on those early days and don't miss the lack of sleep and all the long hours the two of us put in. But I know it was necessary in order to realise our dream of living in the mountains. Nothing in this world comes easy, and it makes me laugh when people say that we have been very lucky. Perhaps lady luck did play a part, but not without alot of hard work along the way.
These days we are probably working even harder as we both have our own personal goals that we are chasing as well as running a mountain bike holiday company. But whenever the stress of thinking becomes too much for Mrs P, I just take myself off and sit beside the river or take a short walk into the mountains. It really makes you stop and think about what is important in one's life.
Right now I'm resting very weary legs after 3 weeks of heavy training and looking forward to all the racing, guiding and biking adventures ahead. It all kicks off in March, and it may not be until October that I find some quiet time to just go and spend the afternoon in the mountains by myself. But there's nothing better then having something to look forward to. Like our AQR guests have a holiday to look forward, Ian and I don't need holidays as we just look forward to being home in Luchon and riding our bikes.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The drive was a smooth one in France, and I loved driving through Monaco, but once we hit Italy it was secure seat belts and hang on for dear life, as Italian drivers like to go fast and swap lanes whenever they fancy it. There were a few hairy moments, but we managed to find Ian's Paul Dad in one piece, who was meeting the two of us, en route. I thought I could relax, but I forgot that Paul also likes to drive fast, and Ian hates to be out done by his dad. Luckily, being the Mrs in this relationship, I had calm words with Mr Potter (junior) who I threatened to throw up on if he didn't slow down. We arrived at Paul and Caroline's beautiful home, called 'Serendipity', at about 10:30pm.
The next day, which is officially Day 1 of our little Italian adventure, will be posted shortly......
Two crazy Potters in this photo, one a bike freak (you know who that is), and the other into heavy rock. The third crazy Potter is taking this photo and is very proud to be part one of the Potter clan.
Hiking is part of my training and I had to do an hour of exercise today. Unfortunately Ian and the dogs were knackered after 50 minutes, and I had to practically drag all four of them away from the car to ensure I got my hour in.
Ian and I woke up at 5am and returned to our home in Luchon. Our journey was going well and we thought so long as we didn't have any problems we would be back in Luchon by early evening. Paul phoned us to see where we were, and he confirmed that we were making good time. I made the mistake of saying, well so long as we don't have any problems.....
We were about 4hrs away from Luchon when we noticed hundreds and hundreds and hundred of lorries and buses were parked up on the outside lane of the motor way we were travelling on. We also kept seeing electronic signs stating we were in a high wind area. Then we felt it....only a gentle breeze at first, before a huge gust of wind every now and then that made our little vehicle shudder. We carried on and were only a short distance away from out turn off to Luchon when the winds became really intense. We ended up seeing lorries blown over and large vehicles, that refused to stop, being blown from side to side. Trees were flying in every direction and there were rocks and garbage blown all over the motor way that we had to swerve to try and avoid. Then, the little traffic that was on the road came to a standstill, as two lorries had been blown over and blockd the entire three lanes. For over an hour we were parked up beside a bus that kept shaking everytime a gust of wind hit it. Our car felt quite secure, but what terrified me was when we drove past larger vehicles that weren't coping with the high winds, and I kept thinking they might end up crushing us.
When we reached our turn off to Toulouse the Gendarme closed the motorway and we were forced to continue south to Perpignon. From Perpignon we headed onto a B road that we hoped would take us to Luchon. Luckily we were protected from the high winds, but the road was tight, with plenty of twists and turns to test us. It ended up being an extra three hour loop back to the motorway which we hoped would be open, as it was dark and we had been driving for over 15hrs. No luck, we were forced to find a B&B and wait until the next day to continue our journey home.