Euro Beat w/ Spencer

As August nears, my race schedule fills and I near my return to Edmonton. The past two weeks have seemed like life as usual here in Le Creusot. Training, racing and watching the Tour have been the highlight as living alone can be quite dull. My roommate returns, however, on the 3rd and my race schedule is about to become a little heavier, so I have less time to be bored. I meant to make it to a stage of the Tour while it was close, but those plans fell through when I tried to figure out a means of transportation. My racing picked up again after recovering from the travel and resumed as normal. The weather here right now is considerably great with lots of heat and much less rain. All in all, France at this time of the year inspires a pleasantly relaxing feel. In accordance with this, the race schedule becomes thick with races to be found on pretty much any given day.

This past weekend I did two races. Saturday’s race, the Prix de la municipalite Frontenaud, was a Cat. 2-3-J race in the far east of the Saone et Loire. It was a circuit race with 16 laps of 5 km to total 80 km. From the start, Creusot set out to dominate, especially because we had the most riders of any team. On the first lap I attacked solo to start what I expected to be a large amount of early aggression, ultimately deciding the groups. I stayed away for another lap before being joined by two other riders, one of them my teammate Cedric. We worked together, pushing the gap over 2 minutes until at around 40 km to go, we received news of 2 more Creusot riders bridging up to us. We stopped working with the rider of a different team at this point for obvious tactical reasons and he seemed to understand quite well, driving the pace alone to protect his chances. Some laps later Cedric flatted, but got in with the bridge group, greatly aiding their work. With 10 km to go, the 3 Creusot riders made the junction and we began to work over the other rider. This was working well and on the final lap, I was feeling strong, but with 2 km to go, I hit a large crack in the road and flatted. What made it worse was that there were no more spare wheels. My teammates took 1, 2 and 4 on the day. I did not let this get me down, however, as the next day I had a tough race.

Sunday was the Elite Nationale GP Cours-la-Ville, a race in the Pay de Roannais. The course was difficult, featuring a 4 km Col each lap as well as a 1 km climb to the finish line and numerous false flat sections. At the start line were riders who will be professional next year after doing Stagaires with teams the like of Ag2r, Credit Agricole and Francaise des Jeux. From the gun it was a tough race. The climb proved difficult as riders used it to continually attack each other while the peloton tried to follow each move. The race went well for Creusot, with Jean-Cristophe Peraud making the front group of 12 and then winning. Jean-Cristophe is a mountain biker who rides for Orbea off-road and Creusot on the road. He recently won the French Amateur Road Championships in a solo breakaway and he is using these races on the road as a build-up for the Olympic mountain bike race. He also won the World relay championships with team France at this year’s World Mountain bike Championships. As for the others from Creusot, only Amyric finished.

Looking to the future, I have a race schedule full of races in the next two weeks and after that I am back home in Alberta. I am returning to prepare for Track Nationals in Burnaby at the end of August. After that I am almost immediately back at the U of A for another Fall Semester. Returning to the Track will be a great way to bring closure to a long season of road in France.

-Spencer

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