So I could try saying that I haven't posted because we didn't have internet in France (which we didn't), but I've been home for 2 weeks now with Internet...and I'm just getting around to it now. Funny, somehow just riding your bike everyday takes up a lot of time.
Europe was definitely an interesting experience. Most of the stories I had heard before going over ended up being quite true. The food: always some variation on a white theme, rice or pasta, pork or chicken for at least 2 meals a day...we kind of had to fend for our selves for breakfast unless you wanted to try and race for 3 hours on a brown powder mix kind of like hot chocolate and some cheese and baguette (I don't think I can face eating baguette for a little while). The accomodation: started out nice in Conches in a little auberge deal, went downhill for the 1st race to single room dorms and then finally for our 2nd race four to a room with no pillows.
Sunflowers on the way from Bretagne to Limousin
The racing: it was different than N.A. for sure, but I think mostly in a good way. Neutral starts are definitely the craziest time of the race; you think you're going to crash about 10 times in less than 5km. In first race start I was behind Marianne Vos and she almost ate it 3 or 4 times...so clearly I almost did quite a bit more. The gendarmerie proooobably shouldn't be allowed to drink before the race starts...but that's how it goes in France. One tried to pass me and another girl at Tour de Bretagne on a switchback descent and managed to skid out barely missing the two of us. And it is definitely way more aggressive. It took a while to get staying somewhat at the front figured out...especially when the roads narrowed down to less than 2m across.
Tour de Bretagne went as well as could be expected for my first race in Europe I think. Finished 28th in GC and 7th in the young rider classification (I think I was the youngest in the race).
Tour de Limousin...not so much. We had a couple days in between the two and I felt like I was coming around pretty well, and felt good at the start of the race. First stage we hit the GPM and things kind of went downhill from there. Got to the top ok, a bit of the group but really shaky. By the 2nd GPM by stomach was going absolutely crazy and by the 3rd... well I was going backwards and it was over for me; I just couldn't focus anymore...and I think I'll skip the details. Into the car and spent the rest of the stage curled in a ball in the passenger's seat. A bit disappointing because it ended up looking like a fun, hard race but the girls all did really well and I got to hang out in the feed zone with our soigneur Michel and work on my French.
The team at Limousin
Michel: best soigneur ever
Since I've been back its pretty much been recovery and then into prep for Canada Summer Games. We got our package of Ontario clothing last Thursday, have to drop our bikes off Wednesday so they can get driven to PEI and we fly out on Friday. Should be fun!
And I'll try and write about CSG...hopefully while its still August.