Monday 22 February 2010

Half Term Training Camp To Andres, Pas de Calais in northern France

Between 15th Feb and 19th Feb - 4 Young Riders; Clem Berril, Alex Peters, Sean Glendinning and Tao Geoghegan Hart and 2 Coaches - Keir Apperly and Joseph Albert crossed the channel in search of good roads and good weather! We stayed in Gite La Ferme De Amis - A renovated Farm House in the small village of Andres. We rode hard, ate well and had a good time exploring the surrounding countryside. Here is an extract from my diary on the second last day -

Today – Thursday was a great ride, I always really enjoy being on my bike full stop, but this was a very good day – in the words of The Captain - Clem 'Epic'. We started off on the flat roads toward Calais and Dunkerque, but they where by no means easy – the wind was our real enemy this morning. It was blowing ferociously – like it has all week. We battled through the wind and saw the sea, a kind Belgian offered to take a picture of us - with promises to email it as soon as he could! We then headed back home, at this point Sean started to have a hard time keeping up, this was good because we ended up saving some much needed energy for that evening. We also worked hard as a team to keep him protected from the wind but still keep the speed up. After a hard 60km, we where back home. We decided after the previous days lunch that we would keep it light in order to make the most of the afternoon ride. I had some very nice French baguette and cheese. In the afternoon we headed out to the hills further inland, I was really surprised earlier on in the week how much variance in terrain this part of France had on offer. The hills where all good, tougher than we would find in the Essex lanes. I had good legs this week – and battled with time Keir, Alex and Clem to reach the summit first. At one point Keir and I went well clear of the rest and worked together to increase our lead. Recently I have been practising my sprint finishes – Alex and I where putting this to test sprinting to as many road signs as possible, then raising our arms in a victory salute. On one occasion Keir raced me at full gallop to a sign – we fought for a good 200m and I just pipped him to the imaginary line. Its really great to have a coach riding with you rather than shouting out a car window! On a final note – on poor unlucky Keir's 2nd puncture of the day, getting very late into the early evening – a old local fishmonger came out of his shop, and took an interest in our 'Velo's'. Alex and I started to try to chat with him, and he was very enthusiastic about helping us with directions and telling us about local climbs. When he realised we where English he started to list all of the 60's, 70's and 80's British & Irish Cyclists - Sean Kelly, Stephan Roche, Sean Yates, Tom Simpson, Mark Cavendish & Bradley Wiggins... We had a good laugh with him about us striving to ride the Tour De France in the future! We can always break the language barrier with good old cycling chat! Im just off to help Clem cook some Tomato Sauce for Dinner... A very good trip, I would love to come back here!

Many thanks to Curtis Taylor and his 2009 Alpine cycling team from Hackney Homes for raising funds to make this trips like these happen!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tao

    Nice Blog - good stuff


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