I was quite gutted not being able to make it to the world cup in Scotland this past weekend, mainly because I wanted to see Clay Porter's new movie 3MG, o yes, and of course watch the racing and ride SICK Scottish hero dirt trails….but, I couldn't go, so I decided to have my own little world cup here in the small village in France where I've been staying. There was a 45km xc race happening, and I was going to give it my best shot and pretend that I was in Scotland. I had all the Scottish elements, a ton of mud, cloudy skies, rain storms and an odd, but fun group of really powerful French dudes from the deep countryside. Upon first glance, most of them looked like local farmers on really clapped out bikes, but man were they strong.
Of course I couldn't understand a word of anything that was going on, and I had no idea what they were telling all the riders in detail before the start, but it was a fun atmosphere with funny French music and before I knew it we were off. I didn't expect the amazing turnout of almost 250 entrants - it just goes to show that mountain biking is alive and kicking, even in small, rural towns out in the sticks. I wanted to try and push as hard as I could, and it was hard! The 45km route was really steep with loads of mud and it took me 3hours to finish - putting me in the top 10 with the men. I was pleased and I was knackered all at once and for the remainder of the day I had an annoying cough and wheezing lungs!
The feed stations were amazing filled with cakes, pastries and all sorts of yummy treats - not your average sort of feed station. The first feed station was in the town where my sister lives - right outside their gate in fact, so it was fun getting cheered on by them and all the Vernassal locals. At the finish, instead of having some thick recovery type drink, we had cups of red wine and Kir of course, and some scary looking sausage type meats and pates - not ideal being a vegetarian in this part of the world. Unreal what a cup of red wine does to you after three hours of exertion. Only in France.
I wish I could have chatted to more of the people to find out what they were all about, but we did manage to communicate somehow, and it was fun. It always amazes me at how wonderful mountain biking is and what a great tool it is to meet new people and how you can communicate with strangers who can't even speak the same language. Thanks to my bike and this event, I was embraced into a completely new cycling community without having to say a word.
Thanks to the person who e-mailed me these pics & to the lady that kept appearing everywhere cheering me on with bon courage!