As its the off season I now find my evenings and solitude spent sending off 747 jumbo jets and writing articles with beer in hand (the latter!) for the club website to let members know what we had been doing during the end of season.
This year was no different with the end of season traditional close a jaunt over to normandy France to take part in the worlds biggest 2 up time trial, the Duo Normand.
In previous years we have had Mike Clutton set a record and win their group so we have achieved good results as a club. Gareth and Ben could smell the podium last year and were back for more dishing out the pain this year as they new the course now, had worked on their equipment, setup and technique so were in prime form for a decent crack.
Travelling over late night ferry thursday got us to France Friday morning, quick shopping trip around the local area, bread wine cheese beuure, croissants? Afterall we were in france so had to buy local et al? Shopping done, people with a cuppa in hand then it was about to setup the bikes, fill the chateau with the 17 of us who had made it over from the UK to quentins Chateau. The chateau will take nearly 40 so we were well down on total capacity, if anyone has friends in other clubs who would like to ride next year then please contact me - this can be done.
This year we had a couple of guest pairs from Team Avanti - Portsmouth and as one was an ex club member it is nice to welcome new people to the event and the chateau so thanks for the company of friends Sam Dorkings, your team are always welcome and were fantastically behaved.
The couple of days before the event we try to generally get a ride out to the big lap of the course and a trip out to the coast to Granville for moules/frites to open the legs and to stop us getting overly bored and non bike aquainted. I cant remember what we did on which days but we had a moules/food trip one day and a sign on/reccy of the course the other so all happy.
The evenings are mainly spent in the dressing up box, err, I mean kitchen! We cook, Eat, Wash up as a unit of fine tuned athletes and coilled springs. Fire has to be kept in good supply of logs otherwise we may develop serious hypothermia in the kitchen whilst cooking, eating and drinking and attending ting-tongs oven burns this year. The food however was saved and not harmed during the minor mishap in the kitchen so taking one for the team meant something different this year - battle scar to show.......
Bangers and mash, Toad in the hole, Roast chicken, Gourmet soups are all dishes that ting tong has done in the past and Mary prior to my arrival on the Duo scene. One of the evenings we eat out as its nice not to cook, sometimes we have done this the sunday after the race but try find anywhere open on a sunday in France then good luck! This year we did it the friday so people could stay chateau side the day before the race and not have to worry about a late night out or unfamilliar food.
Getting there is a fairly effort free trip, thursday night ferry Portsmouth Caen, return back monday. Done. Equipment choices seemed wide, anything from road bikes with deep wheels to TT bikes with shallow wheels, horses for courses as they say. Transporting this whole lot out there can be a bit of a handfull so alot of choices were made before and we only took what we could carry, and with multiple people per car to utillise seat cost per ferry ticket space was at a premium with most cars and groups carrying max payload for what they could take passenger wise.
Race day we had people mainly in early start times of 0700-0800 and then a wave of people from about 1300, this meant the earlies could follow the lates and vice versa. We have found from previous events having people in mid day starts we cant cover them with a support car. Having a support playing aqua and barbie girl as well as the full greatest hits of rick astley or venga boys is a must. If we ever get barred from this event it will be down to poor music choice alone............
The race is an undulating course over 55km, getting more lumpier in the tail end of the race. To kick you really hard theres an out and back of 7 miles right at the end, they parade you through town before coming back again. There were some pretty amazing results this year as Sophie and Alexis, Gareth and Ben managed to both go warp speed in their respected rides and end up with second and thirds, chepeau!
Afrer the ride we took our traditional stance near to the town centre and the wall to see some of the pro teams come in, Wiggins, Orica, CCC Polkiwicize all had teams, no freebies from Baku sinergie this year though.
After the event it was a pack up for some as they were back early to get back for work monday, for the rest it was dressing up time. I mean eating and drinking time for our last meal and to close the duo for another year. For those interested in coming in future years, drop me an email. costings worked out at £160 for the weekends food and acommodation, transport sharing with others to split costs. Average ferry cost with Brittany on Portsmouth Caen was about £400 including cabins both ways 4 sharing.
See you all next year