Day 8 Lockdown in Serre Che and the New Normality

Turbo cycling


All the normality of life with ski touring at this time of year in the mountains has now been replaced by the latest rules of lockdown and a new normality with its challenges to stay fit (and sane),...

This used to be our favourite time of the year, the end of March when the resort is quiet, the sun is shining and the snow is transforming for classic spring ski touring.

Currently the sun is shining, the snow is transforming and the resort is indeed quiet. But the new normality is that we no longer go to bed having checked the freezing levels for the night and the predicted temperatures for the next day, planning where we would go for our ski tour with the Rando Chiens.

A likely six weeks more of this

We're now on Day 8 of lockdown in France (or 8 and a half if you count the first half day on Tuesday,17th March). Who would have thought 10 days ago that we would be limited to going out for one hour a day? Certainly it has created new challenges - and with a likely six weeks more of this according to a committee of scientific experts advising the government today, this is the new norm.

Necessity is the mother of invention so, yesterday, while Gav was doing his Sufferfest on the turbo in the garage (image above) I put on trainers and headed down the (deserted) road limited to one hour and 1km from home.

Bloody steep hill in Villineuve

I had intended to do a 4km circuit but realised I could do another 6km by looping on and off road, never further than 1km from home. It actually became a bit of a challenge.

But the ciruits included three small steep hill climbs which slowed me down (one of them is a Strava segment called 'bloody steep hill in Villineuve'), so I was within a quarter of a kilometre from home when my hour was up. But all I had to do was cross the field by our apartment, where bumping into a gendarmes would be extremely unlikely. Next time I'm going to have to run faster, so there's another challenge.

A six-pack in the six weeks

I'm also going to do sit ups everyday to see if I can achieve a six-pack in the six weeks we're meant to be on lockdown. And, yes, even at my age. Watch this space.

So what is the new norm? For us, in the mountains, this is our daily routine:

  • Listen to BBC news in the morning while catching up on emails.
  • Clear mobile of inane videos, images and memes about coronavirus (mostly Trump) posted on social media.
  • Inspect fridge/freezer checking we have enough food for 24 hours.
  • Exercise within the latest lockdown limits (running, dogwalking, turbo cycling).
  • Tune into BBC news again for updates.
  • Wait impatiently until 7pm for first beer / glass of wine.
  • Meet up virtually via What's App or Zoom with friends and family in the UK with another glass of wine. 
  • Make dinner finally using up old tins of tomatoes and ancient packets of pasta. Sell by dates? Pfft! More wine? Why not.
  • Settle down with glass topped up while watching Netflix series (avoiding end-of-world, pandemic and zombie themes).
  • Fall asleep half way through Episode 3, wake up confused in Episode 6.
  • Go to bed with no plans for the next day.
  • Repeat.


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