Yeah!!! I made it onto the podium in second place! Don’t get too excited though, I was second in the over 60s category. However, I did ride well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the race. The 25th edition of the Frederic Mistral. One big 42km circuit around the magical mystical and very beautiful Monts de Blond.
How’d it go? I rode a measured, safe, calculated ride. I had a plan and I stuck to it. The plan was to take it steady for the first hour to hour and a half then turn it up. I started steady and found myself in the company of two other 60+ riders. One of them dropped his chain and had to stop, so I knew he was behind. The other was right in front of me. He was riding well, so I stayed where I was and shadowed him. I played it a bit cute, I didn’t want him to know I was there. I didn’t want to take it on too soon. With an hour and a half gone I was looking for an opportunity to sneak by. There was a sharp bend, and moment of confusion two or three other riders, I slipped by on the inside and upped the pace. I didn’t see him again. I pushed on hard thinking I was leading 60+ vet, but unbeknown to me there was another who finished some 7 minutes ahead of me. No matter, I had a fab day out, and loved every second of it.
Les Mégalithes, it’s the one where we started, the first Rando we ever did when we moved to France. Today was the fourth time I’ve ridden it, and it’s still one of my favourites.
42 kms around the western end of the Monts de Blond taking in some trails that I just love. There’s no “grand depart”, you’re free to start any time between 08:45 and 09:00. You ride at your own speed. It’s not a race. But on such a beautiful morning, on fast dry trails, riding my race bike, I can’t stop myself.
What is it about ‘Les Mégalithes’? Every time I’ve ridden it I’ve felt just great. For the first few kilometers I ride brisk, but steady. There’s some greeting and handshaking to be done. Then the pace picks up. On the first long climb, I’m breathing hard, and my legs are stinging. Feels great! On the first big descent, foot out, throwing some random shapes, I’m all over the place. Awesome.
In what seems like no time at all I’m hammering down the wide tracks back into Javerdat, in my biggest gear and mashing like a good ‘un. I rode it as hard as I’d race it, while still showing some courtesy to other riders. 42 kms blitzed out in 1:50. I’m euphoric! Just had my fix!
Many many thanks to A. C. Oradour-sur-Glane, and A. S. Saint-Junien Cyclo for a superb rando. As usual Les Mégalithes = Nickel!.
One of my favourite training rides is a loop up around Cognac la Foret. I use it for an easy spin, a balls-out loop, and it sections off nicely for interval traing. Straight out of the door riden briskly it’s roughly 2 hours in total. It goes summat like this……….
Through the chemin at the bottom of our road and onto the tarmac. Through L’Age then along the valley road towards St Auvent. Cross the foot bridge then climb the old Pavé, tough! Through the pretty village of St Auvent, and onto St Cyr. After St Cyr there’s an open track that leads right the way through to almost the top of the forest. A couple of tricky granny ring climbs, and you’re there, halfway round at the highest point of the ride. Dive down some swoopy stuff, some nice flowing forest trails before a fast blast across open farmland drops you onto the tarmac 2kms from home. I normally play time trialists here, seeing if I can stay on top of my gear on the drags. There’s a final singletrack descent into the village, and that’s it.