Monday, 5 March 2012

J'arrive en France

It’s a been a while since I’ve felt the need to keep a blog of what’s been happening in my life, but with some serious changes I felt it was time to begin anew and reach out a bit.

In 2011 I had the call from a friend of an offer to race with a French team. After the 2nd half of the race season marred by a broken collarbone, it was an opportunity not to be missed. To come to France, arguably the most cycling-centric country in the world and home to the biggest cycling race on the calendar, is a dream to me and many others. I’d heard it was a hard life by a few friends who had made a similar trip, but ultimately could be rewarding if I stuck it out.

On the 18th February I took a flight from Bristol to Lyon, plus dragging 2 heavy suitcases around the train stations of Central France with my new and only English team mate, Gregg Shrosbree, to meet our team manager Frederic Champion. The next few days were spent settling into our accommodation (which by the way, is fantastic), picking up our new race bikes (Massi, with Fulcrum wheels and Campag gruppo) and putting some miles in on French roads.

On the training bike on one of the local 7km climbs
Our 1st race was the Bedat, a 160 strong Elite French race on a 120km course, with 2 sharp climbs per lap (6 laps in total). What a course! Combining this with twisty descents through French towns and strong winds meant for tough racing, including many riders from feeder teams to Pro Tour and Pro Continental squads. A sharp wake up for a debut race of the season, a bit different to my usual jaunt at the Springtime Pursuits! Today was all about gaining some experience, to start off with Premier Calendar level race meant we both only finished in the peloton this time but already I can’t wait to get stuck into the French season.

Getting online is a little difficult out here as we have no Wi-fi in our accommodation, but I will endeavour to give you all an idea of what it is like racing full-time in France as often as I can. A bientot!

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