If I forget next year, remind me that I don't like to ride north of Paris, especially in the winter and spring. There, in the north, it is flat, cold, and, worst of all, windy. Give me a nice climb any day, but forget the wind.
To be sure to get lost you must:
This cyclosport event, the VCL Tour du Vexin, was originally 155 km, then, due to a course change, it became 167 km. I ended up with 177.8 km, most of it alone in the strong, cold wind. Riding time: 8 hours 43 minutes (average speed 21.7 km/h); total time: approximately 9 hours 45 minutes because I had to stop several times to ask directions.
The second food stop was not there when I arrived, and I had no water by the end of the ride. When I finally reached the finish, not much food was left but people found something for me to eat. Never mind that I had paid 50 ff for a meal that I didn't get.
Fortunately, I have wonderful teammates: Guy Brousse, who is one of the most patient people I have ever met, and Nicolas Moreau-Delaquis, who understands the necessity and benefits of hot chocolate after such a ride.
Nicolas is a journalist for the magazine Cyclo Passion. In his article about this ride he wrote, "Au chapitre des performances...la volonté de Barbara, une Américaine licenciée au Levallois S C, qui, malgré la fatigue, boucle en lanterne rouge l'épreuve en 10 heures."
Thanks Nicolas, but it wasn't fatigue. I had no choice but to reach the finish. Also, I was rather angry at the apparently lax attitude of the organizers -- they knew I was out there -- and that useful emotion kept me going.
I cannot recommend this ride and will not do it next year!
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