La Mandragore VTT Marathon 2008

La Mandragore 2008100kms, one way only, along the best trails in the area from Confolens to Nieul, including mulitiple crossings of the Monts de Blond. Not a race, it’s much harder than that! I was 4th rider home last year in 5 hours 15mins, I’d like to come home with the leading riders again this year. With a hot day forecast, and the ground hard and dry it’s gonna be fast and tough.

At 8.45, we roll out behind the lead car for a quick tour of Confolens. All the usual suspects are near the front. Across the old bridge, over the Vienne, hundreds strong in the early morning sun, alongside the river before crossing back via the new bridge to climb the ramparts to the old chateau. Through the chateau grounds now and there are supporters dressed as medieval knights to cheer us on our way. Quite a spectacle, though my attention is fixed on what’s ahead and maintaining my position near the front.

The lead car peels off and it’s “game on!” ‘Marco Solo’, that’s Jean-Marc the St Leger la Montagne rider who won the solo class at the “24 heures de Bonnac” takes off like a man posessed. Guess who’s on his wheel …

Onto a disused railway line out of town and Marco is going like a train. Marco’s choice of weapon is a Specialized Epic, and he puts it to good use powering over the rough sections like he’s on tarmac. I’m getting battered on my hardtail but I’m thinking it will pay dividends later on.

With hardly 5 minutes gone, Marco has ridden us clear. That’s Marco, me, then Lionel Lebraud (US Nantiat). Staying with Marco on the climbs is ok, but on the technical rocky stuff alongside the river, he floats away. A small gap opens, it crosses my mind that he might be trying to establish a good lead early on as a buffer for the tough climbs in the second half.

We’re about 20 seconds down, chasing hard. We hook up out of the valley onto a steady climb. It’s like Marco vanished, but in actual fact we’ve missed the turn! Doh! With at least a minute thrown away, we’re back on track. Lionel is annoyed at our mistake and is setting a blistering pace. I’m hanging on. We pass a few riders and catch a group containing Jean-Philippe Menneteau (US Nantiat) and young Davy Barborier (Briance Roselle Aventure).

At the first ravitalement, I ride straight through without stopping along with Lionel, Jean-Phi and Davy. Cor blimey guv – just like the old days! The pace is brisk with the off-road sections taken much faster than the tarmac ones. I’m feeling good and contribute to the pace.

Nearly two hours done and we’re starting to get into hillier terrain. Davy is having some trouble with his cassette and is yo-yo-ing off the back. I’m still ok, though it’s hard work. Dropping down toward Montrol Senard now, a fast woodland track with dappled sunlight. Jean-Phi is leading Lionel in second, then me. There’s a hole with a big rock in it and I’m straight over the bars. I land in a heap and in that split second I know I’m finished! I felt it go, a quick check confirms my collarbone is broken…

to be continued ūüôĀ

Voulez-vous rouler avec le ROCC?

ROCC girl - Voulez-vous rouler avec le ROCC?Would you like to ride with the ROCC? Well this Saturday you’ll have the chance. It’s the ‘Rochechouart Olympic Club Cyclo’ half day velo sortie. There’ll be different length circuits to choose from ranging for 35km up to 100km, with ravitalments (food stops) enroute. All are welcome, the pace is friendly, you’ll be riding through some beautiful countryside, with some fabulous company, so why not come and join us?

Meet at the ‘Maison de Temps Libre’ in Rochechouart on Saturday 28th June at 13:30, for a 14:00 start. Helmets compulsory.

See you there? C’est ROCC’n’Rouler! oui? ūüôā

24 Heures de Bonnac

24hrs_de_bonnac_logo We raced hard, we battled right to the last lap, but we were beaten into second place by “Les Blaireaux”, a bunch of desperados from the Dordogne! Chapeau guys! Hey, it was so tough, i’ve been ill ever since! But, it was a great event, and i rode with a great team (US Nantiat)………. and, and, we finished ahead of our mates in the Culture Velo team, but only just. ūüėČ

Right from the start the team from the Dordogne took the lead. We’d planned on doing two laps each, but switched to one in an affort to peg them back. As the afternoon wore on their lead grew, and we found ourselves fighting for second place with the Culture Velo boys. It really was close.

24hrs_de_bonnac first lap action

Then luck ran out for the boys in blue. A string of punctures saw the Culture Velo team a lap down. We’d switched back to two laps each by now, as we raced through the night. By early morning the Dordogne team were well clear, only a mechanical would stop them now, though we kept hoping they’d gone too hard too soon, and would blow-up!

Into the last three hours and the Culture Velo boys rallied and began to gain on us. Stop watches were checked, riders timed, calculations made. We stuck to the task, and finished ahead of our friends by about the time it takes to mend three punctures. A very close match!

24hrs_de_bonnac_pearce_riderMost memorable laps for me were the one where I got dropped in around 10seconds behind my old mate Jean Claude Sansonnet. Thinking he was on a second lap, and I was only doing one I chased like a nutter. As I passed our team camp I got a cheer that said, “there he is, this is the lap you’ve been waiting for, GGGOOO!”. I managed to catch JC and get past him, though at the end of the lap I was ready to collapse.

Then there were the two laps I did with Fabrice from the Briance Roselle Aventure club. We rode bit and bit sharing the work, absolutley flying along. Merci Fabrice. It made me wonder if we should have offered to make a pact with the VC boys to work together to chase the Dordogne team.

I don’t know which lap was my fastest, but one of them must have been the lap I did glued to the back wheel of Charley. That boy is fast, and so smooth. I just hung on. I don’t reckon I could have done two.


I was very proud to stand on the podium alongside my French team mates. Thanks for having me lads it really was a pleasure to ride with you, and a weekend to remember.

Les “blaireaux” ont tout explos√©

Here’s a copy of the report on the 24 heures de Bonnac-la-C√īte from the local ‘Le Populaire‘ newspaper……

L’√©quipe p√©rigourdine “les blaireaux” a tout explos√© sur son passage. Les six hommes ont pulv√©ris√© le record des 24 heures de Bonnac-la-C√īte avec 561 km en deux tours d’horloge !

Ni d√©luge, ni canicule, la 2e √©dition des 24 heures VTT de Bonnac-la-C√īte a connu ce week-end des conditions pratiquement id√©ales. C’est sans doute pourquoi, le record de l’√©preuve d√©tenu depuis l’an dernier par l’√©quipe 1 de l’US Nantiat est pass√© de vie √† tr√©pas. Et pas qu’un peu.

Au 512 km parcourus l’an pass√© par les Nantiauds, les six v√©t√©tistes p√©rigourdins engag√©s sous l’appellation “les blaireaux” ont rajout√© pratiquement 50 km de plus!
Jean-Mary Brugeaud de Razès a réalisé un festival en couvrant pas moins de 347 km, devançant Philippe Sellier de plus de 55 km !

Ces 24 heures se sont parfaitement d√©roul√©es et l’organisation de Bonnac VTT y est pour beaucoup.

Le Mans style start

Here’s the Results……
1 613 Les blaireaux équip 6 11:05:34 561,2 92
2 606 US NANTIAT 1 équip 6 11:01:15 542,9 89
3 607 CULTURE VELO équip 6 11:05:42 542,9 89
4 412 Les corréziens équip 4 singlespeed 11:08:03 524,6 86
5 605 Club VTT Chateauneuf-Chamberet équip 6 jeune 11:20:30 524,6 86
6 604 Les Z’ACCROS √©quip 6 11:05:57 512,4 84
7 615 Les tontons flingueurs équip 6 11:06:43 512,4 84
8 808 Les Outsiders équip 8 11:11:25 512,4 84
9 801 Team 51 équip 8 jeune 10:58:36 494,1 81
10 417 Manouch’Bullets √©quip 4 singlespeed 11:16:13 488 80
11 622 UC Flavignac N¬į1 √©quip 6 11:00:52 481,9 79
12 611 VTT Montragrier équip 6 11:03:37 481,9 79
13 625 LesMiauletou équip 6 11:09:55 475,8 78
14 623 Nieul’s band √©quip 6 11:09:57 469,7 77
15 410 Speeder bike équip 4 11:14:45 463,6 76
16 416 Les tringlots à vélo équip 4 11:20:58 457,5 75
17 802 équip 8 singlespeed 11:01:38 451,4 74
18 415 Team Celtic équip 4 11:01:12 445,3 73
19 612 Les Agresiens équip 6 11:05:45 445,3 73
20 803 Cyclo Club BEAUVALLET équip 8 mixte 10:46:29 439,2 72
21 618 Les ronds qui colle équip 6 11:18:00 439,2 72
22 807 La Belle Equipe équip 8 11:03:22 433,1 71
23 627 Lycée st Exupéry équip 6 10:54:13 427 70
24 616 Les débutants équip 6 11:01:18 427 70
25 404 VTT Evasion pourpre 3 équip 4 11:03:56 427 70
26 628 Natu’raid √©quip 6 11:05:19 427 70
27 608 LES BRANLE BOUILLIS équip 6 11:10:54 427 70
28 617 Les musclors bike équip 6 11:11:08 427 70
29 602 AL l’√©toile Cyclo St Astier – les rubip√®des √©quip 6 10:59:56 420,9 69
30 804 Team Wi-Wi équip 8 11:03:00 420,9 69
31 629 Bonnac équip 6 11:03:30 420,9 69
32 630 90 + équip 6 11:06:03 420,9 69
33 614 X RAID 87 équip 6 11:08:07 420,9 69
34 407 Team VCS la Souterraine équip 4 10:57:55 414,8 68
35 619 Les winners équip 6 11:01:41 414,8 68
36 624 Les Moblo équip 6 entreprise 11:09:28 414,8 68
37 806 Les pantouflards équip 8 11:10:49 414,8 68
38 609 TEAM GAUQUIE équip 6 11:17:12 414,8 68
39 408 Les Kings de Bosmie équip 4 11:05:24 408,7 67
40 809 Les musclores de Bosmie équip 8 11:01:19 402,6 66
41 402 VTT Evasion pourpre 1 équip 4 mixte 11:07:12 402,6 66
42 403 VTT Evasion pourpre 2 équip 4 11:07:16 402,6 66
43 405 AL l’√©toile Cyclo St Astier – les touristes √©quip 4 11:02:23 396,5 65
44 810 Valéo équip 8 entreprise 11:15:44 396,5 65
45 420 Passion rando Montbron équip 4 10:53:43 390,4 64
46 621 UC Flavignac N¬į2 √©quip 6 11:01:31 390,4 64
47 805 Team Marco Bike équip 8 11:02:17 390,4 64
48 406 L’ap√©ro Team √©quip 4 11:06:47 384,3 63
49 413 BLUES BAND équip 4 10:59:54 372,1 61
50 610 Les galériens équip 6 10:59:58 372,1 61
51 601 AL l’√©toile Cyclo St Astier – les cagouilles √©quip 6 11:04:27 372,1 61
52 418 Les novices équip 4 10:49:15 366 60
53 603 Les Verneuillais équip 6 11:06:09 366 60
54 620 Les chupa chup’s √©quip 6 10:51:43 359,9 59
55 105 Marco solo solo 09:51:38 347,7 57
56 411 Les goulles sèches équip 4 10:44:57 341,6 56
57 409 QUADRICOLOR équip 4 10:53:43 335,5 55
58 401 Les Pédales durs équip 4 11:01:21 335,5 55
59 104 ROM1RED- solo singlespeed 10:58:45 329,4 54
60 626 Les charlots équip 6 10:53:32 323,3 53
61 103 Le vieux loup solo 09:21:38 292,8 48
62 419 Fixie King équip 4 singlespeed 11:09:13 280,6 46
63 414 RAFFIER équip 4 entreprise 11:04:15 274,5 45
64 102 Le fournil de la vallée st astier solo 11:00:20 256,2 42
65 101 LE BARJOT solo 10:37:58 219,6 36
66 108 Le grand solo 10:47:25 207,4 34
67 113 soul of tribe solo 01:40:12 189,1 31
68 112 La grenouille solo 11:01:34 176,9 29
69 111 Perol tous seul solo 11:01:36 176,9 29
70 109 Poussin solo 11:05:51 146,4 24
71 106 Nanardo solo 11:04:05 128,1 21
72 107 Jojo solo 11:04:07 128,1 21
73 110 Le para solo solo 15:49:20 48,8 8

La Limousine Andre Dufraisse 2008

The “La Limousine Andre Dufraisse“, remember when I did it last year? Well I did it again this year. See. but this year I knew what to expect! ūüôā

La Limosine 2008

A 155 kilometre French cyclo-sportive, not for the faint-hearted or those of a nervous disposition. 1200 cyclists are sent 4km back from the official start line to a staged ‚ÄúGrand Depart‚ÄĚ in the centre of Limoges, 15 minutes is set aside for the riders to cover the 4km back to the real start. This is done by taking 15mins off everyones finish time (hope you‚Äôre following this). So if you cover the 4km faster than 15mins you‚Äôve bought yourself some extra time for the 155km. Got it? This explains why the first few kilometres are ridden at such a breakneck speed.

Thanks to Theo and Christian (Le Comit√© d’organisation), I’m down near the front wearing number 148. My plan is to stay as near the front as possible and hang on in there. It’s the same plan as a few hundred other riders….

We’re away bang on time at 8am, it’s chilly, but the sky is blue, and the sun is shinning. We’re moving quick, we’re tightly packed, and I’m trying to hold my place. Up through the start at Panazol with hundreds of children cheering, waving balloons and banners. Climbing out of town protected by a fleet of motorbikes. It’s amazing!

Out on to the open roads now, and the first climb of the day, the 2.3kms up to Maison Brulee. We don’t slow down. If anything we’re going quicker! I can hear riders breathing hard, some going backwards, I’m OK, I move up a few places. Right now I’m sitting in the top twenty, right where I want to be. I’m comfy, I’m happy…

The kilometres fly by effortlessly. There’s riders attacking, trying to get off the front, I’m still sitting comfy near the front, but not on it. We’re on the 8km climb up to St Goussard now with 60kms behind us. A stylish rider in black is on the front putting the pressure on, it’s tough, but I’m OK, I’m holding my place. Over the top, past the Ravito (food stop), nobody stops.

Downhill now, for kilometer after kilometer, winding down across the hillsides, a sweeping rollercoaster ride. It’s cold in the shade, my hands are cold, and we’re going so fast that even in the sunny sections I don’t feel warm. I find myself slipping back a few places here, and a few places there. I’m not feeling good. I resolve to do another half-hour and then see how I feel.

At last, we’re working again, i’ve warmed up, and we’re on the climb at Maillofargueix. Now it’s tough, someone is putting the boot in. Gaps start to appear. I’m cursing for having allowed myself to fall back, i’m working flat out trying to move forward. A big group go clear, and I ain’t in it! For a few minutes i’m stuck on my own in no mans land, chasing hard, but not gaining. I sit up.

On to Razes, then Silord the home town of Andre Dufraisse. I’m in a group of around twenty riders, we’re chasing, and we’re not that far off, but not every one is working. The lead group is going full-tilt now, and every now and then we come across a rider who’s been shelled out. At Chateauponsac we’re two minutes down, with 50k to go, and some big hills to climb over. Past the Ravito without stopping. A motorcycle outrider with a cool bag between his knees comes among up asking if anyone needs water. Great service! As we hit small ramps I’m seeing tired legs. Some of these riders are suffering.

Through Compreignac then on to the 5km climb to the Sommet de la Cote de Beausoleil. This is a tough one, it’s where I fell apart last year, and I’m dreading it. I move near the front of the group so that if I start to lose ground I might still be in contact by the time we reach the top. The climb starts to bite, and you know what? I’m feeling good! Yes, it’s hard, but I’m pushing on, right at the front of the group. There’s riders going off the back, and by the time we reach the top we’re down to about 15 riders.

With the last big climb behind us we push on. I do a quick check around the group to see how many riders are in the same category as me (G cat = 50-54yrs). There’s three of us, one looks shot, but the other one looks strong, I remember him from last year. He thinks that there’s only one G rider up in front so we’re riding for 2nd on the podium. I know he’d like to beat me.

On the run in to Limoges with 10kms to go. We’re flying along. I’m thinking about how I’m gonna play my cards. Everytime I make a move my G cat buddy is there watching me. Inside the last 5kms. There’s D cat riders fighting it out, attacks thick and fast. I stay as close to the action as I can. A gutsy courageous rider from the Nieul club (Stephane) takes it on again and again. Counter attacks come from a couple of Dutch riders. On the short climb at Le Palais sur Vienne, Stephane takes it on again, stinging, stringing us out.

Into an almost dead stop turn with 150metres to the line. I go in in about 5th. Out of the saddle, sprinting hard, trying to be wide, I get past three, into the finish, we’re done. My G cat buddy is behind me.

29th rider home, 3rd G category rider home, in 04:26:45 (turns out there were two in the first group). Average speed for the 157kms with 2287metres of climbing was 35.314 kph.

la limosine 2008 podium

The Repas was fabulous, I drank far too much red wine, and by the time my tired legs carried me onto the podium to collect my trophy I wanted to say…..”Thanks to everyone for a totally brilliant day out. To the organisers, all the helpers, everyone… the other riders for their camaraderie…to all the spectators who’d cheered us along the way… to the motorcycle riders who’d looked after us and kept us safe…. just everyone….Merci Beaucoup – J’esp√®re rouler avec vous l’ann√©e prochaine a La Limousine Andre Dufraisse 2009″.

la limosine 2008 trophy

Saint-Martin-de-Jussac Road Race

It’s only a few kilometers from home. I know the circuit like the back of my hand (aaarrrgghhh! what’s that ūüôā ). Almost half a lap uphill then half a lap downhill. The climbs aren’t steep, but they are long. It’s a tough circuit, and it’s seven laps.

First and second category riders are going off together. I dunno whether that’s a good idea or not. Firsts are wearing black numbers, seconds including me have red numbers. Oh, and firsts are doing one more lap. The promoting club is the ASSJ (St Junien), and they have all their riders out today. I’d say there’s more ASSJ than any other club.

Saint-Martin-de-Jussac Road Race

The start is a fairly civilised affair. One of the ASSJs goes to the front and sets a sensible pace all the way up to the top of the circuit. There’s one or two attacks along the top, then we’re into the descent all the way back down. It’s narrow, there’s lots of gravel, and a couple of greasy corners. Back in the bottom of the valley there’s a short flat run, then a short climb through the finish to start the second lap. We’re still all together.

Second time up the climb it’s a little more serious as some of the first cats flex their muscles, but it’s manageable. Along the top road there’s a flurry of attacks. A group of riders are caught, I’m coming up fast, there’s a gap, I shoot through and attack myself. I’m away! Maybe the first cats aren’t interested, and the second cats are waiting for the firsts to respond? I dunno, I get comfy and work hard, not flat out, but hard. A rider comes across to join me, it’s Jean-Marc from the ASSJ, he’s a second cat too, i’ve ridden with him before, he’s a hard worker, we push on together.

On the climb going out for the third lap, we’re still away, but only just. Carla shouts, “10 seconds!”. As the climb bites we work hard, and at the top were still away, but joined by another rider, a first cat. We’re working hard now, just managing to stay clear. A quick glance, I can see another rider coming across, a big powerhouse, he takes a few seconds breather on the back then comes through driving hard. Down the descent I’m topped out, bouncing in the saddle, 50*12.

Back up again. We’re staying away, but not far enough. On the top of the circuit we’re joined by four more riders. The whole peleton is almost on us, and then we gel, everyone goes through, and we’re gone. They won’t see us again.

Now here’s the best part. There’s only three second cats here, so that’s the podium sorted. We have three Rochechouart riders, Eric (1st cat), David (2nd cat), and me. It’s in our/my interests to work hard so this group stays away.

With two laps to go the infighting starts. As we climb, one of the first cats attacks, another goes after him. I’m feeling OK, as if I could go after them, but I might get eaten alive, I stay where I am. I go to the front and work hard. Some of the riders seem to be tiring. By the top of the course we’re down to five. We still have three second cats, and two first cats, we’re still working hard, and we’re still well clear. It’s looking like we’re gonna stay away.

Saint-Martin-de-Jussac Road Race - last lap climb

I need a plan. If it comes to a sprint I reckon Jean-Marc is gonna take it. David seems to be goin OK but he’s stretching his back a lot, and doesn’t look comfy. Last time up the climb now. I’m feeling pretty good. I give plenty. As we ride along the top of the course Eric comes alongside, and gives me the thumbs up. I’m hoping he’s right.

On the desent now for the last time. It’s getting a bit cagey, I’m sitting second in line behind Eric, I know exactly what I’m gonna do. At the greasy corners it’s hard to get any power down until you’re back out onto the straight, there’s a slight rise here. Into the corner I carry as much speed as I dare, then jump hard, really hard. The road here is narrow, Jean-Marc and David are held up behind the two first cats. I hear Jean-Marc shout. Now, neither Eric or the other first cat are gonna chase me, and David my clubmate ain’t gonna chase me, and if Jean-Marc chases he’ll be throwing any chance of the win away as David will be right on his wheel. It’s a win-win situation for the Rochechouart. I’m hoping it’s a win for me.

Down the descent like a nutter, spinning for all I’m worth. There’s a sharp left at full tilt (whoa! steady dude), then a sharp gravelly right (don’t stuff it up now!) onto the finish road. A quick glance under my arm, it’s Jean-Marc who leading the chase. I’m gonna win it, but just in case the tar melts, my tyres go flat, or the finish line moves away faster than I can move towards it as time becomes elastic, I get out of the saddle and sprint. Got it! David takes second, Jean-Marc third.

Thanks to my team mates Eric and David for their help. Thanks to Jean-Marc for working so hard, and thanks to all the ASSJ riders who worked to make sure that Jean-Marc stayed away, and to the ASSJ for putting on a great race. It really couldn’t have gone any better………. and then it did…at the prize ceremony I was given a spectacular Pelargonium (it’s a plant – Carla loves it), and, and, there was whiskey and chocolate biscuits. Carla drove home ūüôā

Meanwhile – well done to my friend Davy who won the third cat race, and well done to all the Rochechouart riders. With prizes going down to 5th for each category almost every Rochechouart rider who raced was a winner.