Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Coffee and beer

Good day all.
Just like a quality american cycling magazine I'm given you the hottest stories in my world as they happen...or at least how I recount them happening...2 weeks after the fact...hopefully with equal entertainment value but probably at the cost of spelling and grammer purity.
Anyways, you've made ti this far so, where to begin? Story of my life I suppose.

Well, I'm back in Derby now after an amazing (near) month away training and racing in the warm sun of Spain and France. Looking ahead on the calendar it would appear that I will be kickin it here for some time now as our UK season really gets underway...before I go into whats coming up next I'll give a quick recap of the past 10 days or so.

I think last time I checked in I was just getting ready to push the pedals around for Tro Bro Leon, that has since come and gone and what an amazing race! I truly hope I get to come back and do it again next year...I imagine it to be like Roubaix but...FUN...ya... I'd also like to say a HUGE thanks you to all the friends and family of Eric and Alex for coming out and playing a HUGE role in our teams race for glory - these people volunteered their days to come and stand in the cold for hours, holding bottles and wheels at the end of EVERY SINGLE gravel section! Simply incredible - with out them many of use would have been down and out well before things really got going... so, THANK YOU or i guess since you probably won't understand any of this, Merci.

After TBL was done and in the books we ended off our little Euro trip with an amazing meal hosted at the restaurant where Virginie has been working the past few summers, apparently its quite the tourist hot spot..and after the meal we had I can see why. Delicious and a prefect way to and solid few weeks of racing.

Fast forward a week and a bit and I'm back in Derby. Took a couple days off to give my bidy a chance to kick what could have proved to be a rather nasty infection (as evidence by our other teammates Marko, Lach and later on T MO) but after that its been back to the grind. Last weekend was the Cicle Classic, the UK's Big one day UCI race of the year and one I had high hopes of performing in...sadly I did not get the opportunity to take the start...fret not, I've been able to use the form for something equally as satisfy, bagging some precious Strava KOMs - ego inflated. check!

The last few weeks has certanily provided no shortage of highs and lows and I have no doubts that trend will continue...all good though, legs are happy and the sun is shining and if that fails I hear Nice is nice this time of year...road trip anyone???

-oh, this post has nothing to do with either coffee nor beer other than I have confused both during this publication

Friday, 12 April 2013

Vive La France

The road keeps on keepin on I suppose. Last weeks little picture bomb seems like an eternity ago, and so it should... Last week I was doing the final edit on some picture form beautiful Girona form the confort and relaxation of Chateau Berthou in sunny Hyeres FR, and now (3 Buses, 4 Trains, 1 Plane, 3 Hotels, 4 days of racing and more then a  couple long days in the Peugeot) I'm in the blustery North of France getting ready to take on the parcours of Tro Bro Leon this Sunday.

It was great to come back to Erics again and I was instantly reminded why I like it there so much. The French, like the spanish have a very relaxed may of life. Ie, no riding before 10 (or noon ost days) and thats is right up my ally. It also happens that both Eric and Virginie enjoy the finer things in life as much as I've come to...a nice cup of joe to start off the day, good food, great wine at night and always chased with some delicious homemade dessert. That's Livin!

It wasn't all vacation while I was there though I did manage to sneak in some training and managed to find some absolutely amazing road with breath taking scenery. The area around Hyeres/Toulon is not "mountainous" by definition but it is far from flat! With no shortage of climbs between 45min-1hr long, I had exactly what I was looking for on this little "get fit quick" journey and slowly but surly I was feeling the oh so foreign sensation come back into my body, my form was slowly coming out of hibernation  ABOUT TIME.

My time at Erics came to an end on Thursday morning when WE were planning to begin the trek of Planes-trains-and automobiles up to the Champagne - Ardenne region of France(near the Belgium border) to meet up with the rest of the crew for Curcuit des Ardennes. I say because when I woke in the morning I found that Eric would not be joining me for the journey, in fact the only thing he would join that day would be the inside of the bathroom and the toilet bowl. Shrimps 1 - Eric 0.
 I'll save you nitty gritty the details of the trip but I can honestly say it will be a tall order for me to travel anywhere in Europe again with a cardboard bike box...also I NEED to learn French! Believe it or not that bould make traveling France(and Belgium) MUCH easier! Wow would have thought??
Believe it or not this is all you need to get from Hyeres to Charlesville  via Brussels
The racing over the past week had gone really well for both the team and my self wit nearly every member achieving some sort of result or having a good ride at some point. Great for moral to say the least! Huge props go out to Mr. Lachlan Norris for winning(actually smashing is a better description) the KOM competition at Ardennes. He won a stuffed boar.

The highlight of this week other then riding in the break at Paris - Camambert would have ot be a toss up between the feast we were treated to with the Berthou Family (Eric is From Brest) last night or the amount of fun we had pre riding the Tro Bro course today! Both were awesome for different reason I suppose...either way you cut it - it's been a great stay here in France and I look forward to capping it all of this weekend at Tro Bro Leon.

Fingers crossed the Canadian luck strikes again....


...A few highlights from the last 10 days

Odd french tomatoes

Restaurant cat (Fergus this ones for you)

Out on the town with Eric , Virginie and frinds Patrick and Emanuele (apologies for spelling!)

Toulon form atop Mt. Feron

Thats where I wanted to go....

...and thats where I was

abandoned something or another station

the decent from here easily made the climb worth while

not just for San Fran harbour anymore

throw the ball! Please throw the ball!! throw it! THROW IT!

to all those in Saskatchewan...sorry...

and this was when the weather was "good"

very cool

where I wasn't, Derbyville

-Check escargot off the list of cuisines to have

getting wasted at what ever this game was...I think he was cheating...

training hard...or hardly training?

Zoom, Zoom. TTT.




Our new french mates in the worlds smallest roomed hotel

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Riding in breakaways in the rain and cold makes for a tired (dirty) young man

dirt in the ears...thats a first...

No problem.....

really, I swear we all get along really well! honest. 
this guy didn't get the memo on low tide.

Monday, 1 April 2013

This saved me a Thousand words

Thankfully I took a lot of pictures while in Spain because if I had to write a thousand words to describe everything I saw…well, you would get board and I would lose interest VERY quickly.
So instead, a visual bomb showcasing my Spanish adventures.

All work and no play...
Beach Castle, of course..

roughin it on the Hostel roof top
Not sure the back story behind this...I do know the bell still works though

The Following were all taken on my "tourist day" in the city...
So artistic.

Add caption

Back side of the cathedral
A window...
...with a view
when the door is closed it's CLOSED for good!

Big Sword
Girona Cathedral

Sunset in this beautiful city

Not everything in the "old city" is old
top of this climb...Rocacorba?..31:36...
little morning fog
as if there weren't enough other reasons to come here!?
Guard dog
Top of hells angels
The Adventure continues...