Spotted a poster for this VTT Randonnee on the door at Cycles-Pineau. At last, a VTT event that was on locally while we were around, we had to do it. On the day we were up early, and on our way to the start in the small village of Javerdat, not really sure what to expect. We were in for one great day out!
The village was teeming with cyclists, all sorts and ages, from youngsters to fat old blokes in denim look Carerra tights (straight out of the 80’s). From serious racer looking types to family groups, there really was a full spectrum of riders. We were not sure if there was a massed start, and by 5 past the official start time we decided that there wasn’t and headed off. I was following the blue 42km markers, Carla was following the red 30km markers, athough both routes followed yellow markers in places, they were for all riders. Sounded a bit complicated when it was explaned to us, but in reality it was very easy. Where routes split there were bigger than usual markers, and road crossings were marshalled.
I’d started with knee warmers, arm warmers, gloves, and buff, but it wasn’t long before I had warmed through. The had sun started to warm the air, it was turning into a glorious autumn day. I don’t know if it was the magic of the moment, but it felt great. The trails were some of the best I have ridden anywhere. Whooping singletrack hillside shelves, rockstrewn descents, switchbacks, the lot, even the odd farm yard or two.
After an hour or so I was thinking that I should eat some of the food I was carrying with me. No need! just around the next corner was a food station! Tables of food for the riders, with just about anything and everything a cyclist might want as a mid-ride snack. There were even bottles of wine!!! I took some briosch, a banana, and a cup of water.
As I set off again I bumped into one of the engines from yesterday’s ride with the ROC. We shook hands and exchanged greetings. We rode along together for a while, and for a rider who prefers riding road to off-road he was damn skillful, and very strong.
With just over two hours done, a fit looking rider on a full sus came past me like the finish was just around the next corner. Flicking his bike through the rooty sections, and pedalling hard through the wide turns, he was stylish and strong, and then….we arrived at the finish. 42km in just over two hours, could it be?
Back into the village, and the tables that had the breakfast stuff on now had lunch stuff on! Didn’t need to bring those sanwiches with us after all then. Past the bike wash, and the signs for the showers, back to the van. Carla was already there, she’d had a bit of a disaster of a ride, with multiple punctures, shed fixed one of the punctures with insulation tape! She’d done 30km, by doing the 15km route twice. We both agreed that the trails had been fantastic, and resolved to visit the area again when we could.
Still buzzing from the ride, I pursuaded Carla to take the van home while I rode. I slapped some lube on my chain, and I was away. Floating along on the smooth tarmac, in the sun, with a great ride under my belt, I doesn’t get much better than this. What a gift of a day.