Been looking forward to this one for a while. Why? because it takes place in the Monts de Blond, one of my favourite mountainbiking areas. By the way, Sangliers means wild boar!
The weather just lately has been awful, you might have seen something about it on the news, breaking records for rainfall, flooding, and more of the same to come. However, I’d decided that I was gonna do it “come hell or high water”……and so with bike fully prep’d for wet conditions I found myself with coffee and croissant in my belly racing away from the stade in Blond.
I got up near the front straight away to avoid the chaos that would surely ensue when we hit the first rocky climb. Judging by the crunching of gears and the swearing I could hear behind me it was the right thing to do. A french rider wearing number 13 on his shirt opened up a gap, and I chased after him. Two kilometres later we were joined by a young whippet of a rider who pushed the pace a little taking the three of us well clear.
Disaster struck for the young whippet, he puntured. Number 13 went to the front and we pushed on. The pace was fast-steady, and while no one closed on us from behind I was happy to let 13 lead the way. This seemed the sensible thing to do as some of the descents were tricky, and I felt safer letting 13 find the suprises.
I wasn’t sure if 13 would stop at the revitalment, and I was only gonna stop if he did. Luckily he did, which gave me enough time to grab a couple of bits of brioche and lube my chain. I was just about to leave when the young whippet, punture fixed, showed up. The three of us rode away together. Although the young whippet had fixed his punture I noticed that his tyre didn’t look very hard.
From the revitalment there was kilometre after kilometre of swooping downhill. Young whippet led the way 13 and I hung on as best we could. Disaster again for the young whippet/chauffard as his rear tyre blew out on a particularly rocky section. Number 13 went to the front and we pushed on.
We were now at about two thirds distance, and time was getting close when I would have to make my move on 13. We hit a long dual track drag, and I rode to the front, more to show that I was willing to work rather than to attack. To quote Paul the Painter, 13 “fell apart like a cheap watch”. By the time I crested the drag he was gone. I pushed on knowing that if young whippet had the ‘kit de reparation’ he would have his puncture fixed and be in hot pursuit.
I rode as hard as I possibly could on the climbs, went as fast as was sensible on the flats, and took it steady on the desents. All too soon, as I was enjoying the course so much, I was at the finish, first rider home on the 36km loop with 2:15 on the clock. Time for more coffee croissants, brioche, fruit.
One of the best circuits I’ve ridden, and nowhere near as muddy as I was expecting. Well worth the effort of carrying my GPS to record it so that I can take friends on it. Watch out!!! 🙂
Thanks to la guidon bellachon for a matin fantastique