‘Morning Descents’ by Haute Route rider Jeff Jones
It was day 5 and up until then I just thought some of the morning descents were cold. No combination of the gear I brought from Texas had worked and today it was failing.
Many of us riding in the second and third wave stopped to regroup and/or thaw out at a small café not far below the top of the first climb. The warmth of the café and the hot coffee were just about like glue. I knew if I stayed too long it might be May or June before I left.
The subsequent descent seemed to go on forever. At first I thought this had to be good because we were out of the fog (clouds) and I reasoned as we went down it would get warmer. Wrong. It got colder. I wasn’t shaking too bad so didn’t see any reason to stop but I was really bone cold. I started trying to pump, press (whatever) the blood from my core into my arms, fingers, legs by holding my breath and tightening my chest and stomach. I imagined that helped some. About that time I saw a rider up ahead. That made me feel better, proving misery likes company.
As I got closer I noticed it was Christian. I wondered how he was doing. Smoothly, precisely, as only he can do, he pulled over and stopped. It was in a stretch of road out of the shadows and I figured he was stopping to soak up a little (and I mean little) extra heat being radiated there. Out of an extra measure of caution and honestly, just wanting to say howdy to him on such an epic morning, I stopped and asked him if he was ok. I speak no French and I presumed he didn’t speak Texan so I wasn’t surprised when he hesitated briefly. When he turned to face me he looked absolutely frozen but he gave me this great big smile and said “COLD”. I thought that was great. I told him I was to, saluted him and took off.
I was never really cold again after that.
Jeff Jones Albany, Texas
HR Dolomites 2014
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