Coupe de France, Plumelec and life back in da burgh..
Absolute sweat feast at the last Coupe de France in Plumelec last Friday. Everyone in the team was doing their best to avoid the back seat in the team van. It was like a sauna, somehow I drew the short straw twice!
We had a team briefing to discuss the race tactics. I was thankful for the interpretation from Claire, which I understood to be that myself, Beatrice, Oriel and Alex were to attack, attack, attack and try and wear out the opposition VIENNE FUTUROSCOPE. Claire, Emma and Alexia who have done enough French cups to gain respectable overall placings were to sit in a bit more until later in the race.
On the start line the temperature was lingering around 30 degrees. I was worried. I don’t rate heat on a good day and this course was quite intimidating. The French cups are hilly no matter what, but this was pretty extreme. An undulating course including a 2km hill climb x 9 laps.
By lap two an attack had gone. We had Alex on the front driving the pace on the decent to get it back. I went to the front to help bridge the attack, caught it, only to see another attack go, chased it, followed by yet another attack, plus one more. My legs were feeling good until about the 3rd attack went..
By the time we reached the hill a clear break was up the road of about 10 riders. Emma and Claire managed to bridge across to it. I was in a state of exhaustion from the attacks and actually fell off the chasing pack (luckily I got back on before the decent) and the rest of the race was more like a Sunday recovery ride. No one in the pack wanted to chase down the break as we all had a team mate in it, so we kind of ambled our way around the course apart from a few efforts up the main climb. With two laps to go we were going so slowly we were at risk of getting lapped by the break, so a small effort was put in to ramp it up, one rider got off the front and stayed away, but no one appeared that upset. Last time up the climb got a bit feisty with around 25 women trying to win the sprint for 14th place. I ended up 19th. I was happy to get a top 20, there not easy in the French Cups. Plus we had Emma in 7th and Claire in 9th. ASPTT Dijon remains second overall in the series.
Directly after the race we drove through the night to Paris. I was dropped at Paris airport at 12.30pm and had a horrible sleep on the airport floor while waiting for my flight through to Edinburgh at 5pm the next day. I can’t lie. I am so happy to be back in an English speaking country and amongst familiarity. My bank account is also happy to be home. Things were starting to look a bit hairy on that front.
Full results of the Coupe de France here: