Our favourite bend is only 2 km away from Galibier towers, so I usually hit it, full of the joys after clicking in or knowing I’m nearly home on drained legs.
It is tiny, about 50 metres in length, gently off camber. It shoots you back 170 degrees with the apex over an ancient stone bridge. In my head it is always dappled in sunlight, even in Winter when the stream under the bridge roars with the rain and snow run off from the mountains. Riding it in different directions gives a different buzz. One is fast into on a downhill, off a main road and you need to rail the outside of the lane, like the sprint line in a velodrome. The return direction needs a kick to get up the hill onto the main road, and if you carry enough speed with you past the tree on the bridge verge you can make it easy.
I don’t think everyone has a favourite bend, but only because you just haven’t pondered it yet. By tomorrow you will. Could be the last corner in a town centre crit, where the racing line is between a high kerb and a water drain. Could be the final bend to the top of a mountain on that day when the legs were stainless pistons of fire and nothing hurt. Some bit of road or trail, that has more than once provided joy and smiles riding through it. Could even be the corner to your boyfriend’s house.
Last week, my bend was attacked. The local council sprayed tar and chucked stones from the back of a yellow pick up from their secretive resurfacing devision. Like ghosts they disappear as quick as they arrive and like ghosts leave people screaming in their wake.
The lane my bend is on isn’t used much so getting cars to “bed in” the stones will take the Autumn. Sad.
All was not lost. Today I came into the corner on my gravel bike too fast, only to recall the excess stone bearing surface, too late. The three seconds of terror with a lot of front wheel drift, led to 20 seconds of elation that I made it round, upright. 47mm tyres work.
The slingshot out of the corner will not be as fast, but it is different for a while, and different is good.