Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The many faces of Grenoble

Grenoble is a strange city in the winter. There's no snow here most of the time, and that and the fact that the temperatures can reach 20 C in January is pretty bizarre. Last week it was even so warm I dusted off both of my bikes, and took the road bike out for 60 km and the MTB for 20 km. And you know what? Even though I'm a huge fan of snow and winter sports, it was nice to be back on the bike again.

Not that I want winter to end. The great thing about Grenoble is the mountains around - and the snow isn't going to disappear from them any time soon! I've been skiing Thursday afternoons lately because Grenoble INP dedicates that time to sports (I concur!). Last week we were at at Sept Laux, about 40 minutes outside of Grenoble.

Joel enjoys the view of the Belledonne mountains, pisteside at Sept Laux.
The snow was incredibly hard - it had melted in the 20 C weather the day before, then it had rained, then frozen overnight. So we took it as a challenge and skied all the black pistes we could find.
Chartreuse and Grenoble valley - no snow there!
Seeing that the weather forecast was for snow Friday and Saturday and then Sunday, we decided to forgo skiing on Saturday in the hopes of thigh-deep powder on Sunday. I couldn't just stay inside and do nothing on Saturday though, so I decided to go for a long run. When I saw that Strava had a half-marathon challenge, I thought, Perfect, I'll do that then.

Moist but happy in the forest.
It was only 800 vertical meters later in the freezing rain that I realized I haven't run longer than 13 km since last June. Ouch.

The trail towards Mt Rachais
Luckily, sugar and music have magical powers, and I limped through 21.4 km successfully. Next month Strava is having a 30 km challenge, hmmmm...

1 km left on the streets of Grenoble. The smile has shrunk slightly.
Sunday turned out to be a bust; the weather was beautiful, but it had only snowed 5 cm and the pistes as well as the off-piste was still pretty well iced over. So we're crossing our fingers for the weather gods to let it rip this week!

Beautiful views from the Les Deux Alpes ski area even if the snow was mediocre!
To more snow - and the upcoming bike season!

- The Wild Bazilchuk

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