Remember when I did this last year? What a difference. Let me explain. Where last year was wetter than wet and raining but not cold, this year was dryer than dry, sunny, and freezing.
We set of for the venue in the dark at just gone 07:30. We need to take it easy as they don’t salt the roads so much in this corner of France. Climbing up towards Razes the sun is rising into a cloudless blue sky. Once again we find ourself in a small convoy of vehicles climbing through the narrow roads to St Léger la Montagne.
We park up and, blimey look who’s here, it’s Paul Gibson, haven’t seen him in ages. Suprises continue. There’s a good turnout, but for as many as there are there, there’s as many missing. Jean-Phi is there, but he’s doing the 12kms pedestre (walk). He says it’s too cold for biking!
Yeah OK it’s cold. Marcel shows me his battery powered heated gloves. I could do with some of those. The first few kms is agony until my hands warm through. The ground is dry, fast and rock hard. The edges of frozen ruts offer a ‘straight on only’ option.
The countryside up here is stunningly beautiful. I must make a return trip in the spring and tale some photos.
Two hours passes, my legs are a little jaded, I’m grovelling up a long climb, feels like i’ve been here before. See that little track of to the right? That looks just like the track they sent us on in the Departmental Championships last March. Yep, exactly right. As I burst out into the sun again I know where we are, and I can see where we are going. We’re headed back down the race circuit where I punctured last year. Only today I don’t. I rattle over the roots and rocks, just skimming the tops……
A moment of random spontaneity and I catch my bar end and hand on a stone wall. Hardly notice it (though it’s aching as I type this). Racing down the last descent with a couple of other riders, and we’re home.
Merci à tous les club de St Léger la Montagne pour une journée fantastique, et un circuit “hyper beau”. 🙂