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Alps 2017 - Galibier.... and The End.... :(

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I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on Thursday.  It had seemed we had so much time to fit everything in, but with just two days left there was just so much I wanted to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it in.  After weighing my options and then sleeping on it, I decided I’d join the group Mountain biking.  They were driving up to the top of the Galibier and then taking the off road route back down, all the way back to the house.  It was a little chilly at the top of the mountain but I knew it wouldn’t take long to warm up, and the further down we went the warmer it would feel anyway.  The first bit of the route was on the road, only a few bends, but I haven’t done an awful lot on a bike.  I also didn’t know this bike well, and it was a bit scary going round the road bends where the edge of the road turned in to a huge drop, with no barriers to stop you going off the edge.  I soon found that, as with many sports (kayaking and horse riding most notably) I don’t much like being be…

Alps 2017 - Star fish and steak

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We’re now well in to the second week of the holiday, which I’ve been told is less ‘paddle intensive’, and most people start to do more of the other activities out here.  This is largely due to the water levels dropping during our stay, and there being less rivers running at suitable levels by the second week.  Last week on our way back from Argentiere, Sam and I found a place for some horse riding and we had booked that for today (Tuesday).  Keith was keen to join us too, so we later added him to the booking.  That wasn’t until the afternoon though, so we decided to go with Chucky and Dean to get a Via Ferrata done, as we hadn’t managed one so far.  The Via we went to was just a short easy one, about half an hour from the house, and on the way to the horse riding so it fit in perfectly.  It also gave us chance to check out some sport climbing, as there is a little crag at the bottom of the Via. 
The walk in to the Via was probably harder than the Via itself!  Basically because I’m a…

Alps 2017 - Super hero bat pants

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On Sunday morning, we got a bit of a lie in.  This was definitely needed as I ached from head to toe.  Keith and I were joining Brian and Rob to make the quick run from Briancon to Prelles again.  The levels in the river had dropped (as expected at this time of year) but the flow was still strong and it hadn’t made it so rocky here.  Waiting for Keith and Rob to shuttle the cars, talking with Brian, I realised I wasn’t really worried at all about running this river now.   I had looked at the get in, and considered how I would break in to the flow and head for an eddy on the other side of the river, and I didn’t even have the slightest bit of nerves. I still knew I would need to concentrate, I didn’t want to be complaisant and trip over on something simple because I was too cocky about it!  We hopped in our boats when the cars were ready, and the get in worked as planned.  After this it was a bit of follow the leader, as in previous days, but I was now able to talk as we went along, l…

Alps 2017 - Metre pizza and a bumpy ride

Friday morning then was an early get up as the whole group was heading over to L’Ubaye for a run which was a little broken, and required some odd shuttle organisation.Once there a few guys got on at the big boy start, approx. half a kilometre upstream from the main get on.The remainder of the group went down to the main get on, and waited there for the big boys to join us.I was understandably a bit nervous while we were waiting, I picked the eddy I felt happy with to get on at, and waited for the big boys to discuss how the groups would work.Admittedly I was a tad nervous to find Keith would be in a different group, and I was paddling with Crazy Chris.His reputation preceded him, and already shaken after the events at L’Argentiere, I almost had a momentary break down.However, I trusted the judgement of the group (and I knew Keith wouldn’t have me there if it was anything but as safe as could be) so I stopped myself falling apart within a second, and tried to get my mind focussed.
Even …

Alps 2017 - Salom course swim

Read Part one here

On Tuesday another couple of paddlers had joined the group (not everyone could get the whole two weeks of holiday) and we headed back to the Sun Run again.This time we started from St Clements slalom course and did the full run down to Embrun.The addition of the two new paddlers, people who I had not met or paddled with before, meant the feel of the group dynamics changed a little and I was back to feeling a tad nervous.I had the little bit of sick feeling from the start as the Slalom course was also the part I had portaged when we did the run on Sunday, so it wasn’t familiar, and it meant starting on top form.
We got in at the bottom of the slalom course and used the leat (a channel of flat water up the side of the river) to make our way to the top of the course.Once all at the top and in an eddy we waited for some rafts to pass before heading down the first drop in to the next eddy.The first swim of the holiday was taken by Dean at this point.He got tripped over by…

Alps 2017 - Do your boobs hang low? TBC...

I’m out in the Alps with a bunch of paddling friends.It’s the holiday I’ve been working towards for the last few months, fighting my fears and getting back to kayaking in a big way.During the run up to the holiday I’ve been too busy to get very nervous about it, thinking more about making sure I have everything I need (including a slightly expensive shopping trip for some new shiny kit!).I decided before we left, I’ve done all I can do to prepare, paddled as much as I could and pushed myself as far as I dared.I had been assured before I left that I was plenty capable of running a lot of the rivers out here, and I was determined that I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t FEEL capable of.Often our perceptions of our capability and our confidence in any given area, will differ from our actual capability.In my case I feel less confident and capable than I’m told that I look; better in my opinion than being over confident and ending up in dangerous situations.
The travel over here was a long trip…