It’s 40kms, yay! It’s a mass start. yay! The circuit has a profile like sharks teeth!, whoooooo!!!
I much prefer the mass start to the dribble away anytime you like between x and y hours. It’s more fun. I’m right up near the front so that I’ll get shoved along by all the riders behind me. We’re away bang on 9am.
Lionel from the US Nantiat is making the pace. I get his wheel. We’re going quick, and my legs still feel a bit tired from yesterdays efforts, but I’m OK. On to the first climb, there’s a couple of sharp bends. Lionel has towed us away, quite a gap, just Stephane the big Ambazac Sprinter Club rider making his way to join us.
The next 10kms or so are superb. Excellent trails, we seem to be going quicker and quicker. Lionel and Stephane are chatting away, even on the climbs. I’m suffering a bit. How can they climb so fast while holding a conversation? Anyway, they’re so busy chatting, and I’m so busy hanging on that we miss a turn, and a couple of kilometers later we’ve come to a dead end!
Back on track, Pierre Barateau (Ambazac Sprinter Club) is up ahead. We catch him, and the four of us ride together. We’re high up in the hills above Compregniac now. I recognise some of these trails from the Thouron rando a few weeks back. We make a right turn into a forest descent. It’s a good one, flowing, twisty rollercoaster stuff.
Chaos ensues. Lionel catches a root, gets crossed up, but manages to hang on by the skin of his teeth, Pierre’s front skewer comes undone, and Stephane takes off like a bullet shot from a high powered rifle. Lionel gives chase, I chase Lionel, and Pierre, having tightened his skewer chases me.
Now we’re going like the clappers, totally ‘a bloc’, and so it continues for the next 30mins. I manage to catch Lionel by virtue of the fact that I remember a couple of desents from previous randos. But it’s as if Stephane has disappeared.
Two hours on the clock, we must be almost home. We’re in the traffic of riders tackling the shorter circuits now. We’re actually riding part of the circuit used for the 24hrs de Bonnac, it’s in good condition considering we’re just coming out of winter.
We hammer the last couple of kms. There at the bike wash is Stephane. He reckons that he just carried on riding at normal pace and it must have been us that slowed down!!!
Here’s a gratuitous pic of me on the trails……