You may recall that my goal for this summer was to better my fastest ever ascent of Col de Vence. I achieved that last Saturday though conversely I also posted my slowest descent. Before you congratulate me I should confess that I was in the car and the ascent had been occasioned by going to watch my little Cup Cake ride an individual time-trial up the other side. He finished second to his arch-rival by a meagre couple of seconds. He was not a happy bunny but his Dad, who had ridden behind him, albeit at a respectable distance, thought he’d gone off too fast. I only saw him at the end, hunched over his handlebars, gasping for air. He’d certainly given his all.

Col de Vence

Work sadly has been grossly interfering with my cycling so much so that I’ve been reduced to two-hourly rides – better than nothing. The weather is now starting to cool and we’re enjoying an Indian summer, much my favourite time of year when temperatures are ideal for longer rides and many of the tourists have gone home making the roads so much safer.

Sadly, my desire to ride has been modified by my need to keep an eye on the workmen who are replacing the water downpipes in the entire building. I had thought that they might be able to forewarn you of their arrival as they methodically worked their way up the block. That seemed to work reasonably well in week one although they have now fallen behind their planned schedule. Apparently, the building is made of concrete reinforced with glass fibres – pretty much indestructible – which means drilling out is taking three-times longer than planned. As a consequence, they had to work the first Saturday. Not a popular move with the residents, many of whom (myself excluded) are elderly.

In an effort to make up time, they’ve decided to work concurrently on the left and right sides of Block A.  Disaster struck Monday afternoon, and severely interrupted my viewing of the Vuelta a Espana, when water gushed from top to bottom from one of the external (thankfully) pipes. We were all a little taken aback as the water had allegedly been switched off. Cue loads of plumbers in dirty boots muddying the terrace and laundry floors. These types of occurrences don’t fill one with confidence.  But I was far luckier than one of my neighbours who had water gushing into his flat. As a result, I’ve had no water in my laundry for two days and am unable to do any washing. In all the neighbouring flats, my laundry space is their kitchens and so they’ve been much more inconvenienced.

Last week I managed to work around them thanks to their two-hour lunch break. Just over two hours is generally all I need to ascend Col de Vence and then return home. This week the two-hour lunch break appears to have gone by the wayside and they’re having to work through lunch – sacre bleu! As a consequence, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll be able to venture out at all until they pack up tools and head for home – around 18:00.

I’m already chaffing at the invisible ties which bind. In practice, and in the event of an emergency, they do have access to a spare key but, if water starts cascading through the flat, I don’t want them fumbling for a key I want the matter resolved pronto. So, despite the perfect weather conditions, I might have to resort to the home trainer.

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