Monday, 27 January 2014

Les Rousses, Day 1

I had developed a very positive anticipation for the railway trip up to Les Rousses. Arriving at Nyon early, I transferred to a very small train in its own little station beside the main gare. My scheduled train wasn't for another half hour, but there was one there, and given that the station served only one line, I figured no harm could come of taking an earlier service. In the end, it terminated in St-Cergue, a couple of stops shy of my intended destination of La Cure, but I was able to wait a half hour for the next train, and I comforted myself that it was as well to wait in a small town as in a big one. As it happened, I struck up a conversation with an English fellow heading to La Givrine for some skiing lessons. As for the trip itself, it was very pleasant, through countryside and very small towns coming out of Nyon, and a few factory stops, then climbing above the snow line into small resort towns higher up towards St Cergue and La Cure.
La Cure Station
Eventually arriving at La Cure, after a quick phone call I was met by Nicolas, from the golf course where I was staying. Having settled in quickly, I walked the 20 minutes or so up into the town and was quickly able to familiarise myself with the bus services, purchase a ski pass for the 5 days, and arrange the rental of some skis. I headed back down to my room for a quick costume change then, with the number of aller-retours beginning to mount, headed back up and out by bus via Les Jouvencelles to La Darbella, by about 2pm.

Setting out surrounded by schoolchildren, I was a little intimidated by their comparative expertise, and my rust. I was fairly terrified of my first short downhill, but managed to negotiate it staying in the tracks. Making my way around the shortest loop - La Dolarde - I actually felt pretty good. I was starting to recall the rhythms I'd learnt in New Zealand all those years ago, and was making good progress up hill.
Looking down La Dolarde
I turned, and the first descent - though longer than I'd anticipated - went OK, with only once instance of sitting down mid-piste when things got a little hairy. At the second, longer descent, I had a little crash near the top, then waited while a horde of 5 year-old made their way down switching from one set of tracks to the other and back. My intention was strictly to get to the bottom without completely wiping out. I was unsuccessful - I think the count was 3 fairly silly looking disasters, with muscles getting distinctly sore.
Shaken but not deterred on Day 1
I crept home feeling fairly dejected at my clear lack of ability going downhill. Worst of all, I'd felt a fair bit of the grabbing in my right calf which had plagued my running in recent months, and I was pretty worried that it would hamper the rest of my week.

Back at the golf course, with a quite reasonable spray of snow falling (we had about an inch), and faced with the decision of going back into town (for the third time) to seek dinner (the golf course restaurant being closed until Wednesday), I fell into my worst travel habits, and buttered my remaining half bagette and had a miserly dinner of bread with honey and a cup of tea, over a couple of chapters of Anna Karenina. I'm good at looking after myself at home; the same cannot be said when I travel. The additional difficulty of not knowing where anything is has a tendency to see me skip meals from time to time.

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