On Saturday I went down to meet up with the ROC (Rochechouart Olympic Cyclo). The local paper had published the route, it was to be 100km tres difficile!!! I arrived just in time to find les boys congregated in the shade outside the chateaux. There was no time to shake the hand of everyone (which is normal), so I shouted a greeting to all, and as we rolled out of town I made my way among the bunch shaking hands with those I knew from previous weeks. We were about 50 strong, a good mix of young guns and old hands. Even the former champion on the Limousin was out today, along with at least one former national champion! 😉
Up the long climb towards St Gervais natural ability groups began to form. The pace was steady and no one seemed concerned about closing gaps. We continued like this for around 20km then as if someone had flicked a switch the pace picked up. Over the next hour or so we raced along, going hard up the climbs, but then easing back a little every now and then to let everyone get back on. From time to time the young guns would hammer off the front to sprint for village signs, and from time to time the former champion of the Limousin would take charge with a blistering turn of speed just to show them that he still had it.
After Massignac I lost track of where we were until we raced into Pressignac, back on familiar roads I relaxed a little as I knew what was coming next. The pace eased as we neared home. Down to Chassenon, and back into Rochechouart with almost exactly 100km on the clock. A great ride under my belt I thanked my fellow “cyclistes” and made my way home. Did I mention that I stopped at the little shop in town to pick up a can of strong beer. 🙂