I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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En Francais

By  CJ Boom     22:29     
A Benitot Anglais
Gatwick - Toulouse, one hour
Airport to Charlie's (St Orens), 40 mins
Ride, ride, ride, eat, rose, sweat, play on fancy rollers, ride.

Saturday arrives en mass trip to Pau. Zip tie bikes to roof. Drive, arrive. Hot. Sign on, get White Rsys. Sickhead
Drive to finish where hotel is. Eat, sleep. Can't sleep excited.
4am awake, two crossiants, bucket of coffee. Drive to start, mad rush. Darkness.
In pen, go go go. 25mins - puncture!
Lose time, lose pack, stuck with numptirs. Ride hard on flat,
Col d Marie Blanque is a bitch. Flats ride hard, puncture. See fair sized peleton. Head down. Get on. Col d Soleur - wicked climb, smash away.

Cheering crowds. Bein Madame, bravo fè, clapping, 5km to go. Big ring, passing people, tremendous feeling, near to top, huge cheers, feel overwhelmed. Best climb I've ridden yet. Descend, fast. On a high. Man passes, 'bravo, you descend well, you climb well' drop onto his wheel. In another pack. That's it I'm going to make my time back. Psssssst! FFS! Puncture. No tubes, no gas, no patches. Keep riding. Shit I'm going to fuck a wheel that's not mine. Back to a descent. Janet - head of support is 6km at the bottom. Rear of bike makes banging noises. Now squealing as the tyre rubs against wheel arch. More banging. Corners, argh. Weaving squirming bike. Scary. Man passes, 'Miss, you have a puncture.'
Yeh great thanks Einstein. Familiar noise, metal on tarmac.
Hate this. Mavic car. Yes! 2km to go.Puncture change, tyre ruined. Can change wheel for cheaper wheel with good tyre. There is a risk I'll never see my Dura Ace cassette and White Rsys again. Not willing to take risk.
Flumé. Repaired. Descend. Argnes Garzost. See Arch with museette. Go to grab. Ease up and puncture. No way.
No more. Retire. DNF. Beaten. Hating it. Handed coke and mars bar. Gobble it. Head down.

We take car to Campan, park up in the La Fuga VIP camp. Wait for the troops to earn their medals on the Tourmalet.
Janet gets a call. Hamish and Holti tried to ride last 100km ahead of the first riders. Unofficial. On the Tourmalet, the gerandarmes find Hambo. They shout. He's slapped to the ground. Told if he rides his bike he will be stopped. They warn him it will be taken away. Hambob walks 2km to summit.
Billy, then Bonzo, Charlie, TC in that order arrive at the camp. Well ridden. Tired.

Leave and return to Chateau. 2 hours of driving. Hot. Sweating, shower.
Holti cracks open Procesco. I'm dead. 2 bottles down.
Legs hurt to sleep and I only rode 90 miles.

Monday, tired. Rollers. Food, food, ride with Arch.
After Party. BBQ, pasta, Arch makes bar out of an ironing board. Salads, rose. Beautiful. Torte with brandy. Chocolate cake. Gateaux. Stuffed. Almanac, brandy, prosceco, music, boulé championship. Silliness.
2am. Tired. Etape after party done!

Tues final day. Breadrun with TC. rollers in sun, ride with Bonz and Charlie. Coffees. Ride home. Pack bike. Food. Glorious food.
Leave with TC to Toulouse. TC to train to continue riding in France and Italy. Me back to blighty. Urban hill climb in 24 hours time.
Best holiday yet. Loved every second of France. All thanks to Family Pearch.


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