The Ardechoise c’est un sportive comme je ne l’ai fait avant.. Come on Cresties, learn some flipping French.
You can choose your distance and the amount of days that you want to do it in, c’est bizzaar non? The route takes you through some of the loveliest French scenery. Sign on, get your number, drop your overnight rucksack at the start. Then 8am Thursday we were off.
Villagers along the route turned out with welcome drinks and nibbles, ‘un acceuille cordiale’. A 94 year old lady demanding kisses on both cheeks from each and every male rider who stopped at her village feed. An unofficial dopage test further down the lane.
So there we were, us Cresties right amongst it all. Our group kept a steady pace for the whole three days, some amongst us will dispute that!
Our first night was a campsite bungalow at the edge of a picturesque vineyard (arrived late and left early so had little time to appreciate it). A hard to find Gite for our second night, but a warm welcome from our hosts.
Our last afternoon the weather threatened and didn’t disappoint, the heavens opened on one of the coldest descents that I can remember as a cyclist. In the café at the next village I had to hold steady a hot chocolate while a fellow French rider attempted to drink it, spilling half down his soaked gilet.
Our final 60k was a cold wet rolling descent, trying to keep the bars straight to the finish, happy to be there at last.
It was a unique three days and thanks to Ray Smith for organising.
Crest riders; S, Flup, Sgt Bilko, Moses, Collarbone & Farmer.