Let’s Eat, part 3 of 5
The ride back from Col du Galibier is sweet. The winding turns that plunge from the mighty rock are wide and sweeping with plenty of road to experiment safely and ride deeper. The more able descenders lead the way. I learn a lot just by watching and following their chosen line. It’s a magnificent experience.
At the camping site in La Grave we discover we have new neighbours. They are fresh off the boat from Britain. It’s the rest of the Baroudeur gang. We are elated.
Leaning our bikes against the nearest surface we give our brothers a hug. Dave, ‘Daddy Cool’; Jai, ‘Moodie’; Rob, ‘Crazy Legs’ and Stu, ‘Nu Stu’ are here. The Baroudeurs are on Tour.
As we help the gang set up camp we marvel at their long drive and our recce to Galibier. They want some too. The sun starts to set as we take a deep lungful of alpine air and marvel at our surroundings. It’s good to be here all together again.
Wait, someone is missing: Alex, ‘The Bear’. No, he can’t make it. It’s Ben, ‘Captain Brutalis’. Oh well, we’re sure he’ll be okay. He’s capable, has a solid vehicle and sat nav. He’ll be fine.
Ben arrives later than expected. It transpires that there are two locations in France that have the same name. They just happen to be very far apart from each other.
Having driven the length of the country and more, a treat was in order, and what better way than to feast at the local’s finest. Besides, with the savings that come with camping coupled with the thrill of being a riding together for 13 years as friends and 10 years as a club, who else was going to celebrate for us?
The town doesn’t seem to be busy, but we take the precaution of booking at the place we saw the night before. It turns out to be a good call. The place is busy. Both inside and out is full. We say hello to the 2 chefs that catch our eye. Their creations look delicious, but that could be because we’re so hungry.
Albeit an active place, the waiting staff are hospitable and we soon find our reservation. As we sit and mull over the extensive menu, we can’t help but hear the mix of languages around us. It’s mostly French, but there’s Spanish, German, American-English and us. Not surprising really.
We look forward to our orders; they all sound so good. As we glance at the decor, we notice photographs of the surrounding mountains and that of a man, we later discover is the owner. He clearly has a love for his home. Furthermore, there is a odd looking stuffed animal on a corner shelf. He almost rivals the picture of the owner in his curious way. We debate on the species and laugh when we realise it is an Alpine Marmot.
We journeyed the route of the La Marmotte 5 years previously. It was gruelling and yet, incredibly fun. What a fitting way to celebrate our time together: at a restaurant dedicated to the region. Fully carbed-up we are read for tomorrow. We will ride again.
:: Members and the club are not associated with Au Vieux Restaurant, La Grave, France, but based on our experience, can highly recommend the place for an evening’s meal ::