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‘Morning Descents’ by Haute Route rider Jeff Jones

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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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