Trophee Passion 2 ~ La Ble D'Or
After getting a result in round one, and with the puppy getting better back home, it was business as usual and the two of us left for Chartres to get our season fully under way.
Having previously had a 9th place here last year I was hoping for a similar top-ten result this. I need to pick up points early on if I'm to survive the mountains and the Massif Central at the back end of the year. Here's how we got on.
All for one...
Bob Cabot of Jersey was also in this event. We warmed up together but as he had a higher number he had to start in the pen behind me. I grabbed pole position with the VIP's, championship leaders and those felt worthy of it. Don't know how I slyed in, but I'll take it!
Pole position, just like the good old
Surrounded by Championship Leaders in their Malliot Noir's.
Managed to get away first for the 500 metre run in to the premier climb and was the first to hit the slopes leading the marauding bunch. I wasn't first at the top, but I was in touch with the leaders and could still see the front!
Stayed with the leaders until the first climb at 25k, where I got tailed off the back ~ again!
Myself and Bob were together for the race to the base and I warned him it was about to kick off about a kilometre from the climb. While we were deciding big ring or small? It started.
The speed went up, Bob got tailed off but managed to get back on. I went for the depart grand and was "lasheyed" (bit of franglais for you there) out the back.
I just seem to climb a kilometre slower than all these frenchies, and half-a kilometre slower than Bob.
Chased to get back on, caught three who came back to me and they said wait. I was reluctant but a lonely 70 k time trial to the finish didn't seem much fun. I was confident I could win any sprint to the line, I had in my previous two visits, so I waited.
After another 5k on our own, the big second group caught us. We cracked on for another 40k until we got to the next big climb at the turnaround point. I went to the front and just pushed hoping to grab wheels as they came past. Only three did!
The group split and we pushed on over the top with around thirty riders, down from our previous fifty or so. With us, was a tiny Taiwanese rider who just went to the front and banged it out, all 50 kilos of him.
At times we were doing 48 to 50 kph over the top of the plain for a very long time at a stretch. If anyone went to the front to help, he'd just whip round them and go again. He was strong as an ox but bloody useless to get a tow from!
On the penultimate climb, I was again, expecting to get shelled, but made it over in the top five. Things were beginning to look promising. Then, as usual, the attacks started after the level crossing 10k from the finish.
I decided that as I was in this championship for the long haul, I would only chase someone who looked to be in my age group, and only then if they went with any young pups.
On the run in to the final climb all the previous attacks had been brought back and we were all together as we started the ascent. It's 500 metres to the top then a kilometre to the finish
Calm & Carry On
As with last year, I climbed near the front and decided I was going to attack the top and line it out on the descent to the bottom of the final climb.
I wanted to be first in to the ninety-degree right hander in to the finish. It worked last year, and the year before, it should work again now.
Just as I rose from my saddle a flash went by me on the left. I dived across and got his wheel. We screamed down the hill and as he braked for the final corner I didn't and dived under him to take the apex.
It's now a sixty second, oxygen-deficit, drag to the line.
As we climbed I looked under my arm as he went by, bloody hell he was strong! There was no one else to be seen. I came back at him at the line but I think it was more the fact that he sat up more than I did. We were hardly sprinting.
Final results showed me as being 8th, one place better than last year. I could win this come 2019.
Which is exactly what Bob did this year. It must of been down to the excellent warm up I gave him!