Monday, 29 May 2006

that was the weekend that was

Friday 10 days ago I rode over to Avenir carrying a suit. Any weekend requiring a suit, a sleeping bag and a bike is going to be interesting, and it panned out that way. Strapping my bike to the back of Nono's car, we drove down convoy-style to La Bernerie, kind of near Nantes, behind Sophie and Agnès. People drifted in slowly over the next few hours: Nanou, Sandy, Audrey Dub, Sylvain, Fred, Francois, Erwan & Manu (the stars of the show), and finally Philippe, Liz & Audrey Paug. Once everyone arrived we all got suited up and had a recreated and somewhat tongue-in-cheek marriage ceremony for E&M, complete with curé, choir, vows, rings and hecklers (la populace!). Things went progressively downhill from there. Dancing, drinking and general debauchery ensued until about 6am, and photos were taken that will ruin lives in the future. We collectively crashed at Agnès' place at La Bernerie and Francois' parents' place at Les Moutiers (or something like that).

On Saturday morning (ok, early afternoon), we headed out on bikes past Les Moutiers along the coast. It was blowing a gale, and the rain came and went throughout the trip, but it was a gentle pace, and pretty pleasant. We stopped for a game of soccer with an inflatable ball that was all the more challenging for the force 3 gale in which it took place.

After looping back to La Bernerie, we took to cars and rolled north to Pornic, for a little acrobranche (high ropes, I guess, en anglais). This place was a little more structured than the previous place we'd been, with runs designated by colours a la ski pistes. After just about running through the yellows, greens and blues, they started to get interesting in the red, with a bike ride across a plank, and some more challenging tarzan ropes. 3 of us (myself, Agnès, Liz) tried the black, which was legitimately tough, with a fairly easy climbing wall, a big tarzan, 2 suspensions that really tested the arm muscles, and a snowboard thing. I got through these last 3, but not honestly, relying on my safety line for each of them. It finished off with a 180m flying fox across the river which got some real speed up, followed unfortunately by a zipline ascent, whose hand-over-hand ab punishment finally convinced me I was done for the day.

Saturday night was a little calmer, most probably because people were still gathering their strength after a long friday night out of their trees and 3 hours of saturday swinging between them. Arnaud tagged in for Fred, though, and kept the team effort high, although he paid dearly Sunday morning.

The slow pace continued Sunday, with good recovery activities like a gentle ride down to the beach, and a few rounds of petanque (bocce for some) in a driveway to round out the day before piling into cars back to Rennes.

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