It’s my first proper event since breaking my collarbone and three ribs when I crashed while riding the Mandragore at the end of june. I’ve been back on the bike for about three weeks, but this will be my first ride proper. It’s a 46kms rando, and although it’s not a race, the riders at the front like to push on, hard. That’s where I wanna be!
First of all, it’s great to see all my riding/racing buddies again. They’re all suprised and pleased to see me (I think). As we line up for the off everyones spirits are high, and there’s much jovial banter. At 08:45 sharp we’re away.
The pace is brisk, and as we hit the first climb I brace myself for some pain. It doesn’t come, and I float along as if on a magic bike. Over the crest a young lad takes off. I stay with the group containing all the usual suspects. We settle into a good rythmn over the next few kms, quick, purposeful, though not flat out. By the time we reach the first ravitalment the group is down to 5. We don’t stop.
There’s a tarmac section and Pierre from the Ambazac Sprinter club is on the front. He’s setting a tough pace. Pierre from the St Junien club, who raced on the road yesterday sits up, he’s had enough. Down to four now, with the young lad still off the front.
The relentless pace claims another, Pierre is dropped. A tricky descent, a sharp left, Jean-Claude and Christian almost miss the turn. Another tricky descent with rocks and roots, i’m being a little cautious, i’m off the back, I sprint back on before anyone notices. On to the climb back up towards Presignac. JC is turning the screw, Christian (also coming back from a broken collarbone in May) is yo-yoing off. I’m breathing hard, I’m determined to stay on.
Over the top, JC eases and looks around to see what damage he’s done. We push on. The kilometers fly by. In what seems like no time we’re at the second ravitalment. We stop to take a drink and something to eat. One minute, no more, we’re on our way….
Up ahead we can see the young lad whos been off the front from the start. We catch him. The three of us ride together taking turns to set the pace. We’re not far from home now, and onto trails that I know really well. I know exactly what’s coming next, how long the climbs are, how tight the bends. I go to the front and push on. I also know that the last descent to the finish is a very tricky one. I warn the others, and we roll down safely.
46kms off-road in just under two hours. I’m pleased, it’s been a great ride, i’ve thoroughly enjoyed every pedal turn in a way that only cyclists know how. It’s just great to be back. 🙂