Well, it’s been five days since the Airtour finished. The blisters are almost all gone, and it almost seems like ages ago. The Airtour was such a special event, six days spent in the company of some lovely people in beautiful places. Massive thanks to Marcus – I couldn’t have done it without you, no way – and all our friends who took turns to babysit the children. Thankyou!
21/6 St Hilaire campsite
21/6 Introduction and briefings
21/6 The tracking device
21/6 Airtour T shirts
21/6 Photo shoot on takeoff, St Hilaire
21/6 Launching for the practise flight
21/6 Practise flight, St Hilaire du Touvet
Arriving at the takeoff for the race start
Organiser Guillaume Bellet, his ‘baby’ about to come to fruition
Guillaume Bellet and Jerome Canaud looking relaxed, waiting for the off
Briefing on takeoff
The supporters line up with the bags
We had to run around the takeoff mat, not taking out the small children marking the turn, and grab our bags from our supporters
Competitors run to grab their kit from their supporters. Then get round the corner and stop to decide what to actually do, given the strong winds on Dent de Crolle
Helicopter filming and photographing the start
Sammy’s girlfriend Lorrie did the support by bicycle. Wow!
Leaving St Hilaire du Touvet, heading along the plateau to Ste Marie du mont to launch. Too windy for Dent de Crolle, too early for St Hilaire
Celebrating being in the lead, knowing it will be the last time! An hour in. Bill, me, Gabriel and Aude
Takeoff at Ste Marie du Mont
Really hot road-walking, crossing Montmelian
Gabriel fills up with some water
Leaving civilisation again, bye bye Montmelian!
Aude and Gabriel on the way up to the col
Arriving at the col. Me, Aude and Gabriel
Resting on the col
Gabriel and Aude prepared for the rain to come
View from the top of TP1 – Colombier, 1954m. Beautiful, if not flyable
Gabriel, Sammy and Aude sheltering from the wind at the top of Colombier
And the view to the east
Dark skies, low clouds and lots of wind. Not flyable!
The cross on Colombier
Full-on picnic table action from another support team in Ecole
Lunch stop in Ecole … and a change of shoes was very welcome.
Jonathan, Gabriel, Aude and me, Col de Chere
Cows on Col de Chere
TP2, Col des Fretes, waiting for a gap in the clouds
Lunch where I landed at Thones
The mobile drying room. Good old Doblo!
Walking through Thones
Waterproofs at the ready again
Pretty little village church
Just outside La Clusaz Jonathan makes an amazing roadside picnic, and we have a break with Al and Allie
Arriving at Col des Aravis
A chilly Col des Aravis at 6am
Setting off towards Croisse Bauet, TP3
Aude and I on Col des Aravis
Low clouds after yesterday’s dampness, but a sunny day
The Swiss Laurents
Grassy Alpine meadows early in the morning = wet, grassy feet all day!
Beautiful mountain scenery, on the way up to Croisse Baulet
Someone makes it across onto the Aravis and easily gets to cloudbase, not very far away
Marcus gains a herd of goats for a couple of kilometres, on the way down
I take off, cross and climb, but a small knot in my kines worries me and I go down and land shortly after this. Thus the day starts to deteriorate for me