Well as most of ya all know, Iím in France at the moment, travelling from one place to the next, and going from one race to another. This year the plan is to give the road a really good nudge, to see if I can stack up against all the other thousands of hopefuls over here and prolong getting a real job for as long as possible!
I am riding for an amateur team Cote Díamor Cyclisme based in St Brieuc, Brittany; the Heart of French Cycling and the home of five times Tour de France Champion Bernard Hinault. First of all, the team is mint. After all the stories you hear about guys living off a grain of rice and not knowing how they will be getting to the next race, I am really stoked with the set up here.
I am living right in the centre ville of St Brieuc in a wicked 16th century old house, 2mins walk to all the shops (and bakerys). The family I am living with have taken me in like a son, and probably the best thing of all, they donít know much about cycling. This means they are not afraid to steer away from the standard pasta and salad and feed me up with all the great French cuisine!
Racing has been pretty full on from the word go, and definitely the part Iím finding hard, going from one race to the next, race, recover, race, recover. Being a Div1 amateur team we get starts in all the big races in France, usually amongst some pro teams as well as the U23 World Cups. On the result front, I have snuck into the front end of the leader board a few times, of which fields of 200 is the norm, and which Iím usually pretty happy to get to the end in one piece! 12th at the first U23 WC, a 14th in the snow down at the 2.2 Tour du Nord Isere and 8th in a 1.2 Paris Mantes have been my best results so far as well as crawling to the finish of U23 Liege Bastogne Liege, the hilliest mofo of a race you have ever seen.
At the moment Iím enjoying a few extra unexpected days at home after snapping my rig in half as a result of cooking up a descent in the tour we were doing last week. Luckily I came off a lot better than my bike and a quick trip to Ďservice courseí (where all the equipment is kept) and im back up and running. This weekend we are off to Lille right up on the Belgium border for a race Sunday, another Monday then itís down to the Pyrenees for a four day tour starting Thursday. Beaucoup driving. Apparently the tour tackles a few of the same climbs that the Tour de France has been over before such as Plateau du Belle (2000m) so donít expect to see this trackies name up there! U23 Paris Roubaix the weekend after that, bring on the pavť ! (cobbles)
Well thatís all for now, hope all is well