A freezing cold, but sunny day, and it’s Wednesday, it can mean only one thing – training with the ROCC. With tights plus leg warmers, double gloves, and triple buffs I set of to meet the boys at the plan d eau.
About ten riders had turned out, I was a little late, and the route was being finalised. Despite my shouts of “Monts de Blond“, we set off towards Chassenon. Like a dog off a leash SuperMax (Maxime Monjoffre), sporting his Scott CR1 rolling on Corima deep section wheels shod with tubs stormed away.
By the time we passed the cemetary on the way out of town we were down to four, and by the time we sped through Chassenon we were down to three, and by the time we crossed the main road above Confolens Max took a reprimand from his dad Eric. SuperMax knotched it back a touch, and so we continued. All for one, and one for all he was worth hanging on, feeling a bit breathless, that was me! 🙂
The head wind turned to a cross wind as we went around the furthest part of our route. SuperMax had got the first 50kms out of his system and we rolled along briskly, purposefully, I was enjoying it. The roads were smooth, rolling sweeping and traffic free. I had warmed up a lot, and removed my buff balaclava.
Crossing the main St Junien to Bellac road we continued on towards Oradour sur Glane. We picked up a passenger from the St Junien club. SuperMax was unimpressed, I could tell. Our passenger stayed with us up through Oradour and on towards St Gence. Something synaptic happened to SuperMax. Maybe our passenger’s creaky pedals drove him mad or summat, whatever, he went to the front and pushed on hard.
So now we’re flying along the main road. SuperMax is setting an incredible pace. I glance down at his block, he’s in the big ring, one up from top, so at least 52*13, and he’s rolling it over as if to kill it. Eric is second in line, and I’m hanging on the back. It’s fast and it’s tough, I’m having to break it into sections! Just to that tree, just ten more pedal turns, just to that gate, just ten more. That’s how close I am to dropping off. By the way, our passenger is long gone.
At last we reach the big island where we turn back towards St Victurnien and SuperMax eases up. “Harder than a race”, I say to Eric. He agrees.
Dropping down the long descent towards St Victurnien, we normally climb out of the valley towards Cognac le Foret, then home along the main road towards Rochechouart. I’m just about boxing it off in my mind, thinking that we’ll have a nice tail wind to finish off, I’m just about to swing left over the bridge when Eric shouts a change of plan. We’re gonna go home via Chaillac, Saillat, Chassenon, then Rochechouart.
It’s further, it’s tougher, and there won’t be a nice tailwind to blow us home, but, I go along. We have a few sprints for village signs along the way, the pace is fast friendly now, though the sky is going a little dark. As we climb up towards Rochechouart with three and a half hard hours done there’s a flurry of wet snow flakes. I’m tired. Merci beacoup pour le entrainment mes amis! 🙂