Roughing it in the Mountains with Cycling, Figeac, Conseillante, Pichons, Monte Bello [Thurs. Added]

Last weekend was my annual guy’s trip to the GA mountain for serious cycling through the Appalachian Mountains - some of the best cycling in the country - plus fine wines, cuisine and very puerile behavior. Poor Craig G joined us this time around, hope we didn’t scare him. What we had was four great days doing dude things, cycling tons, eating and drinking quite well, hanging out relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. We ended up cycling over 11 hours and 15,000 feet, very painful vertical feet if I may say so. My group - my wine group is my group of cycling buddies - has been doing this trip since 2003.

Craig from Cali is a mountain goat, putting the hurt on us all weekend. Fortunately we had this to assuage our pain and egos:

This weekend was really about comraderie not wine geekiness, so no formal notes, just some basic thoughts written down along the way:

Friday Night:

2001 Pichon Lalande - Excellent, really fine crunchy red fruits with a streak of green. Drinking well now. My style of Bordeaux.

2003 Pichon Baron - Very good, but a bit clumsy next to the elegant Lalande. A bit of a bruiser of a wine, showcasing some of the heat of the vintage but without coming across as stewed. Made for a strong pairing with filet pan seared in bacon fat and then grilled hot to a medium rare. This is an excellent cross-over wine to introduce Napa Cab fans to the beauty of Bordeaux.

2001 Ridge Monte Bello - Really a toss up whether this or the Lalande was my wine of the Friday night grouping. I gave the edge to the Lalande because of that notable green streak, but the breadth of the red fruits in this Monte Bello was outstanding, underscored by a fine graininess to the texture and moderately firm tannins.

1989 Chateau Meyney - Archetype Bordeaux from the 1980s. Classic mature Bordeaux perfume, muskiness, and earth. Nice balance of red and dark fruits, showing significant ancillary and tertiary development. This wine is perfectly at peak. Excellent acidity. Showcases the quality of Cru Bordeaux in great vintages.

1982 Chateau Poujeaux - Sadly, this was slightly corked.

Enjoyed some champagnes and a Willi Schaefer Kabinett for starters.

Saturday Night:

1981 Chateau Conseillante - Outstanding, my wine of the weekend. A classic Pomerol in a perfect state of maturity. Beautiful array of dark and plummy fruits, mossy earth and dark chocolate. Tannins entirely resolved, silky smooth wine. Really one of the better wines I’ve had this year, and appeared to be the favorite of the entire group.

1978 Chateau Figeac - Another excellent, perfectly matured well-stored Bordeaux. Red fruits, tobacco, earth and a grainy, earthy texture. A very pretty wine.

1990 Chateau Figeac - Just ever so slightly corked. Major bummer as the 1990 that I had a couple years ago was drop-dead gorgeous. The wine was drinkable, but why in this company of wine? Most of the group did not realize the flaw, Craig and I were bummed.

2010 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett - I always love the purity of white fruits in Donnhoff. This Kabinett is ready to go, would have preferred more acidity. A touch sweeter than I want in my Kabinett, but still really lovely.

2006 Domaine Levet Côte Rotie La Chavaroche - God I love this winery, it’s dead-square in my wheelhouse. Gamey, feral, stemmy, smoky goodness. So signature Levet, a true wine of distinction. The palate was a deep array of red fruits and some darks, excellent acidity, earth, spice, game, saline and pepper. Grainy texture, very layered. Always one of my favorite wines in any line-up.

We also popped a 1965 Barolo that was quite a treat. Well-past prime, not a great vintage, but still a lovely, stately wine, showing a fascinating bouquet of smoky cheeses, waxy oil and dried red fruits. Palate was soft, round, red fruits quite mature and clean acidity that did not over-power. Would never rate this highly, but was a treat to drink.

I skipped over Thursday Night,but will circle back later as we had a fun range of wines, with Cave Dog, Havens, Ridge, Bedrock, etc.

And the boys . . . . I’m the big goofy guy with the helmet and shades on, Craig is the skinny one in the “Poseur” jersey, with my outweighing him by a whopping 50 pounds, which in the context of cycling mountains, ain’t good!

Love this old barn.

And dinner. . . .

Great notes. Now get off the road you menace

Very cool…is that a Campy corkscrew?

But of course! I have an Italian bike, after all! It’s actually a fantastic design with the sleeve that helps center the cork.

I’m so envious. The trees are just now leafing out here in the Rochester, NY area. So done with freezing my ass off.

Love these kind of long weekends. Robert, where did you guys use as your base?
Presume you rented a house & cooked yourselves?

Jealous. I need to get back in cycling shape.

Thanks, Chris.

It’s my family’s vacation house that is well-situated right smack in the middle of the (in)famous Six Gap Century Loop, which essentially is a figure-8. One 3-climb loop is about 42 miles with about 4500 feet of climbing, taking typically just under 3 hours. The harder 3-gap loop is the brutal Hogpen climb that averages 10% for all of its 2.4 miles, topping out at about 3500 feet. This 3-gap loop is 43 miles with 5050 feet of climbing, and typically takes just under 3:30. If you want to destroy yourself, there is Brasstown Bald, which averages 13% and tops out at 4800 feet. One section called the wall is over 20%. It’s like climbing with a butter knife in your back. I’ve done it twice, it’s not enjoyable!

My buddy Ivan, a physician and one heck of a multi-sport athlete, plans the entire menu for the trip and picks up the food. I coordinate and purchase most of the wine, some guys bring will bring an extra special bottle to toss in. We all help with the cooking and cleaning, lots of camrederie here. We split up the costs, but it basically turns out to be the best guy’s trip ever for dirt cheap. We caravan up in 2 trucks with bikes on the racks.

We end up going through beers, vodka and Old Fashions as well. You will hurt all weekend long, and a couple days thereafter, and we can’t wait to get back up there.

I suspect when you get back into shape, you are still one big lug, so I will not be last up! neener

It’s funny getting up there, here in Florida on the flats and I’m stronger than all my buddies, but once we go vertical, they own me. Weight is everything in climbing.

Sounds like a great time. Wish I had something like this closer to home, but without the strenuous mountain biking and minus the beer & vodka part. [cheers.gif]

Bicycles and wine. What concept! Nicely done!

damn bro you looking shred life.

Great story and great wines, Robert. Glad to hear that the '81 Conseillante was showing so well. It’s always been a winner, and coincidentally, I have one queued up for tonight with Kobe ribeyes on the grill. I’m sure my Mother-in-law, my daughter, and my wife who gave birth to our daughter in 1981 will enjoy it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day!

LOL, I’m sold, I didn’t know what the heck that meant!

Glad I have my trusty Urban Dictionary bookmarked for use:

Shred Life
A life in which you do what you love and love what you do; a willingness to completely dedicate yourself to your activities for the sake of the shred.
I live the shred life when I hit the road with my band and when I ace all my classes in college.

Excellent, Looking forward to see notes later tonight!

I’ve had some really lovely wines from 1981 and 1983 lately. Somewhat overlooked vintages.

Looks great. Sometimes we do something similar.

Except with skis. And going down the mountains, rather than up them.

And in the winter.

Great story - and great wines! A fun read. How do you guys do it? I mean, the exertion and dehydration plus all that wine? You must drink gallons of water.

The Owlman’s “Shred Life” in action. Baller!


LOL, living like a Roman from the days of yore takes training, David, training and committment!

Honestly, we ride hard like this at home under much more difficult conditions - the FL heat and humidity that just wipes you out. We had perfect weather in North GA, 50s-70s. We rode the mountains at a hard pace but not over-the-top, and we regrouped at the top of all climbs. We ate and drank a lot, but we also slept in, took some power naps, lather rinse and repeat. We’ve actually become more civilized since we’ve gotten older. I was up there one year for the whole week and me and a buddy rode 33 hours in 8 straight days, the boys joining us for 4 of those. One day we did 7 hours. Ah, the power of youth. Now we joke at how we’ve slowed down, but we are going down fighting!

I need to change my nickname. I have the dumbest cycling moniker in the history of cycling. I’m digging Shred-Life. Still not sure I know what it is, but if FU says it, it must be hip. The “Big Cuban Diesel” works too. [wow.gif]

You and your fast wife (cycling, that is), need to come to FL soon. The racer route killed me yesterday. I was roasted. I was not ready to come back to this intensity and the wind was brutal. Loaner bike didn’t help.

Well, I have to admit though, I then had the best Mother’s Day weekend ever. Rode 82. Couples massage. Brunch with my beautiful spouse of 20 years, knocked back 3 big Bloody’s, took a nap, etc., etc. I love Mom’s Day, we should celebrate every month! [wow.gif]

Enjoying some killer Gonon right now!