Onto the 2nd week of living in France, and again our early season fitness has been tested. Le 4 Cantons, a 167km Elite French race based around a beautiful town called Moulins was the order of last weekend. Consisting of a 140km loop, followed by 3 finishing circuits around Moulins of 9km each. What I didn’t know is just how fast this race would be, along the flats we were hammering along at over 70kph and the entire race averaged at 49kph including a few climbs and drags. To make the race even harder there is a brutal headwind as seen in Paris-Nice this week, that can really split the peloton.
|Last weekend at Le Bedat, yes that is AG2R|
All this made for the fastest race I have ever done, and appears to be a harder race than the Premier Calendar series in the UK. It’s no wonder that the French do so well on the world scene. No results to set the world on fire yet, for now we are just learning how these races work, getting stuck in where we can and adapting ourselves to be more efficient so at the pointy end of the race we can be part of the action.
Outside of racing, Gregg and I have been putting our language to the test. The view that ‘Everyone speaks English’ really isn’t true. We have yet to find anyone who speaks good English, so we have to feel our way through the language barrier with ‘Mal Français’. A fair way off fluent, but you can certainly increase your confidence because it forces you to dig into your deepest knowledge – not actually all that different to racing.
|Start line of Le Bedat, Elite French race|
The weather has been better than home until the weekend, but this week hasn’t been so great. It could make a difficult race this Saturday in St Pourçain, another rolling circuit like the 1st race Le Bedat. However having gained a couple races in the legs I have confidence in a positive result!