Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mother Nature continues to taunt me!

My last post described Mother Nature as a cruel mistress, well she continues to taunt and tease me! This year I decided to do the whole south of France thing with my family. With my wife being a teacher she has a long summer holiday and I've never managed to find more than a week's holiday in the summer - besides whilst I might be able to do a week (at the most) by a pool two weeks would be torture! Anyway this year, what with a change of job coming up and some extra hols, I decided to do the two weeks.....the idea being to go down to the Rhone valley really far south (about an hour north St Marie de la Mer where they do the whole Defi windsurfing race - the one with 800+ sailors on the start line). Being so far south We decided to take the train, drivings a pain in proverbial when it's the middle of summer with no air con and two fighting kids in the back of van and anyway an hour from the coast would mean there'd be no chance of a sail and anyway I could hire a bike and go biking for my daily exercise fix, apart from anything else there would be no chance of there being any windsurfing spots and of course no wind or so I thought.......turns out I should have checked the spot list on Windguru before deciding to train it. It never entered my peanut that there could be a windsurfing spot near by. I guess there was a clue in the name when I started to drive down Ave du Mistral on the edge of the Rhone.

Turns out that not only is Chusclan famous for its red wine but by all accounts one of the few windsurfing spots on the Rhone, and probably the only spot in the world that shares its name with a wine! Also it turns out that when Windguru says no wind in Chusclan it's doesn't really mean no wind if the Mistral is blowing and blow it did for nearly the whole of the two weeks. Nothing super strong, I guess the windiest day would have been 4.7 but I never got to find out. I did 'checkez les conditiones' on one day and although not epic it would have given me fix. The spot reminded me of The Ditch in Wellington NZ (my old stomping ground) and I guess when it's nuclear it would be fun, and on the day I did check it out the guys were having a blast and getting some pretty good air on the far side of the river (not quite Gorge style but getting there).

The shots aren't great as they were taken with the Gopro so you need to be really close, but I got close enough to the action to know although it was pretty flat (some lumps in the middle) I'd have got my fix. The hols were, in another way, an eyeopener as I improved my appreciation of Cote du Rhone and covered probably 300kms+ on off road tracks on a MB (that I blogged for the whole 2 weeks) including some challenging climbs of about 500ft (off road that is) with bone shaking forest tracks, some dodgy drop offs and some epic views.

And the view up from from below

Am I in danger of turning into a wine drinking MAMIL (middle aged man in Lycra)? I hope not but I've made a good attempt this week!

But at least mother nature has a way of balancing out, I think I'm due shed loads of wind?.. pretty please....


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