The sun shone, it was hot, we raced hard, it was tough. It went dark, it was still hot, we raced hard, it was tough. It got light again, we were tired, we raced hard, it was tough. We made it onto the podium behind our great friends and rivals. 3rd place out of over 50 teams.
This year they ran the circuit the other way round. There were a few small changes, the most noticeable being that there seemed to be more downhill than uphill. How did they do that? It really was a super fast, super flowing mix of trails. You could get almost all the way round the lap in the big ring. Average time for a lap for me was around 15mins.
Just like last year, a team took it on right from the start leaving us to battle with ‘Culture Velo‘. This year it was the young guns from Briance Roselle Aventure who took it on. We were hoping they’d gone off too fast. So there’s us, ‘La bande à Marcel’, Culture Velo, and ‘Les singlespeed attack’ mixin’ it up for the podium. Should mention here that those crazy singlespeed guys have the current Vet National Champ riding with them.
As the day wears on we slip to 4th place, we’re three minutes down on Culture Velo, who are themselves down on the singlespeeders! There’s no let up, were racing incredibly hard, something’s got to give. We’re doing two laps a piece, and we’re knocking ’em out like a machine.
Racing into the night, we’re gaining. I’m out on a lap battling with one of the singlespeeders, and a rider from another team. The rider from whatever team doesn’t have good lights and is trying to use us to get round. We’re trying to drop him. Over a slight rise, the singlespeeder dives through going like a nutter. I chase after him. Surely he’s going to fast for the turn? In spite of the fact that there is a triple set of tapes together with reflective arrows all pointing left he goes straight on through the tape!!! Those singlespeeders – crazy guys! We’ve only been racing on the circuit for around 12 hours.
Through the second half of the night we continue to gain time. We move up into 3rd ahead of the SS team, and by sunrise we’re in second place some 3 minutes ahead of Culture Velo. The leaders BRA are over a lap ahead.
Now, while we’re riding two laps then change, Culture Velo are playing their cards a little differently. They are riding a man short most of the time. See they have a rider who cannot get to the venue before evening, and he’s going to relieve Jean Claude Sansonnet who is only riding in the day. So, just around breakfast time, JC returns after a good night’s sleep to boost his team. It starts to work, and slowly Culture Velo are pegging us back. With just three hours left to go we’re racing harder than ever. It’s tough.
In the end, we couldn’t hang on. Culture Velo catch us in the last few laps and push us into third. Sometimes though, it’s not where you came, it’s how you got there. We’re happy with third, it’s been a great race, we accept our beating with humility. Like I said at the top, we’re on the podium behind our great friends and rivals, we’ve shared a great weekend. Chapeau guys!
Many thanks, and Bravo to all at Bonnac for a great weekend. Felicitations and Bravo to all the riders, and ‘High 5’, and special thanks to my team mates Marcel (Nantiat), Jean-Phi (Nantiat), Lionel (Nantiat), Seb (Ambazac), Stephane (Ambazac). It was my great pleasure to race with you. Thanks for having me.
Hey et bonjour! I just came across your blog and enjoyed the race report. It sounds like it was a great event with some great rivalries! Congrats a tous!
Steve, well done sounds hard in the dark, sounds like JC had the right idea!
Nice one Steve 🙂 Sounds a great course, I haven’t done a 24h for ages – inspiring!
He’s a slippery customer is JC 🙂
that is the longest podium line up i’ve ever seen!
Yep, and I know just about every one of them. A great bunch.
The 24hrs de VTT Bonnac has a solo class you know, and always falls on the weekend before MM. Let me know if you fancy entering.
JC, he slays me, he really does! 😉
oh nice one steve, top effort!
congratulations Steve !