The VTT Rando at La Bretagne just north of St Junien.
Absolutely f*****g freezing! With the temperature at around -10, plus the wind chill factor…
Firing down the first descent, and out across the frozen French farmland, young David from the Bessines club comes flying by, I give chase. We’re the first two riders away.
My frozen fingers won’t work, on a short road section I’m furiously flailing my arms in an attempt to get some blood flow going. It’s a clear blue sky, but it’s only just gone 08:30 and the sun has a way to climb before it finds us.
The ground is rock hard super fast. The farm tracks give way to singletrack as we go from fields to forest. We’re OK so far, and have been sharing the workload. On the straightaways we’re rocketing along. I’ve warmed up a little now. It’s fun.
As we get into more technical stuff David is just fearless. I stay with him as best I can. We’re slipping and banging off stuff. I’m just thinking how well I’m going, me, an old bloke with a dodgy shoulder keeping pace with a young gun, when I start thinking “feck this for a lark!!!”,it ain’t no race, but we’re riding furiously like men possesed. I don’t wanna find myself injured before the season starts. I back off a little. Still going quick though.
David has a good gap on me now. I gain a little on the easy stuff, he moves away on the technical stuff…… and then, he’s gone. I’m looking at what must be two minutes up the trail, and there’s no sign of him.
Along the singletrack by the lake near Arnac, I can hear a rider behind me. I’m thinking maybe it’s one of the Flying Barbourier Brothers, they’re bound to be chasing hard. It’s David!!! He’s so focused on going fast he’s missed the ‘fleche’. He comes by, racing over the frost covered rocks and frozen ‘run off’ like he’s on tarmac.
Into the last few kms. We follow the same trails that we came out on. There’s just one huge flat field to cross. I can see David up ahead and I make a final effort to try and catch him. Thing is, he can see me coming, and makes a final effort himself.
We’ve done 40kms in 1hour 45mins. It’s been fantastic, and I fank the young fellow David for a fine ride. 😉
…..and then, and then, mulled wine at the finish. Oh yes! 🙂