Bussiere-Poitevine VTT Randonnee and Raid

As part of my training for the Grande Traverse de Limousin I’ve been doing hard rides back to back to back. So, following my 100plus km with the ROC yesterday my plan was to do the Bussiere-Poitevine VTT Randonnee then ride part way home.
On the startline at Bussière-Poitevine
When I found out that there was also a Raid (race), well I just couldn’t stop myself, I entered without a second thought. It was only 38km! OK, I knew I was racing tired, but the pace off the start was incredible. All categories raced together, and for want of a better description I took a good kicking! At one point I was even overtaken by the leading tandem!

I managed to regain some composure and started racing. The course was excellent, there was one section especially where we flew down a singletrack along the side of a river valley. We roller-coastered along a shelf with carpets of bluebells either side before the inevitable stream (deep) crossing.

I completed the course in 1:44:04 probably around 20th rider home. Yeah, and I got caught by the tandem again on the last tarmac section. They came by fast, and although I managed to get their wheel I couldn’t hold them.
Showers, bike wash, camping
Five minutes or so later Carla arrived, she’d been doing the medium Randonnee. We got some food from the buffet and sat in the sun to enjoy it. What a great way to spend a Sunday morning, just 4 euros for a race, breakfast, food stops, an after race buffet, and I even got a free hat. Oh and there were showers, bike wash, and camping too!

All too soon (I could have sat there all day) we set off for home. I had changed into some fresh kit, and I took and easy ride home over the Monts de Blond while Carla took the van. Now I really was tired, but before long the fairies had taken me, and I rolled along with not a care in the world. My hard traing done I’m looking forward to an easier week.

ROC 100km

Rochechouart Olympic Cycling Club meet at the Chateaux

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. 🙂

Cognac le Foret VTT Randonnee

Took part in the VTT (MTB) event down at Cognac le Foret yesterday. It’s billed as a randonnee, not a race, and it’s as much not a race as the Meridas. In other words there’s always riders at the front who wanna be the first home. It was an early start (08:30), quite chilly, with some mist. I opted to do the longest 44km route.

Anyways, the Gran Depart (mass start) was the usual chaotic every man for himself, and I rode very hard for the first few km to get away from the traffic. In fact I actually made it off the front, possibly because I knew the trail section, or more likely because I’d gone off course despite the ample markings!!! Sensing that something was wrong I retraced.

I managed to work my way back to the front, and rode straight past the revitalment (food stop) without stopping. I’d been going for about an hour by now, and was caught by a trio of French riders. They were going a shade faster than me, but I latched on limpet stylee. They were damn fit, with whippet builds. It was agony on the climbs, but I’d get a little rest on the descents (I’m on my Epic).

At the second revitalment the marshal confirmed that we were the first riders through. A quick drink and a bite to eat and we were on our way. We’d been out over two and a half hours now and I was cooked. Hanging on, just staring at the wheel in front hoping that the pain would end soon (great fun). I was third rider home, as two of them dropped me up the last climb.

It’s the hardest I’ve ridden since the Runners Riders, and just the workout I was hoping for. Later, in the afternoon I watched the Paris-Roubaix on Franch tele with a couple of beers!!!!!