The cycling club has recently moved into new, bigger and better premises with a small patio garden which means we’ll be able to hold some social events there in the summer. It also has a small kitchen and my idea of holding a get together over afternoon tea once a week for some of our senior members has been well received. Little do the boys know that they’re going to be road testing my cake recipes. It will also enable us to provide those youngsters attending the cycling school with a pasta lunch after their Saturday morning ride.
Friday evening I attended my first UFOLEP meeting as secretary-elect of the cycling club. I went with the President-elect otherwise frankly I would never have found the meeting hall which was tucked away in a small side street the back of a school. The meeting was well chaired by the local UFOLEP Chairman who started the meeting by saying that he wouldn’t put up with everyone all talking at once. This is a charming feature of meetings in France. Someone kicks off the discussion and everyone piles in with their thoughts. It’s extremely hard to take minutes when everyone’s talking at the same time. I feel I may have to enforce the same ruling at future cycling club meetings.
The meeting generally revolved around the presentation of trophies to those clubs who had gained the most points at recent pointages. We came away with three which wasn’t a bad haul. However, two of the larger local clubs must have needed lorries to transport their swag back to HQ. I had met most of the other attendees at some time or other but I rarely recognize people off their bikes and in every day clothing. I find it helps to visualise them in helmets and sunglasses and concentrate on their jaw lines.
Having done a fair bit of hill training this week in preparation for Sunday’s cyclosportif, I was looking forward to gaining extra points for the club by zooming up Col D’Eze to Fort Revere. The ladies are in the last but two groups to set off up the hill. Having arrived at the start in good time, there’s a fair bit of hanging about, so I went for a ride around to keep warm.
It was a small but a select group of the usual suspects that set off at 09:40, most of whom are half my age. I was soon distanced by the others and happily rode along at my own pace. Once the 10% incline levels out I’m able to speed up and I even overtook a couple of riders. The rest of the ladies were tantalisingly up ahead, occasionally within sight but I don’t think there was any danger of me catching them. All too soon I was overhauled by most, but surprisingly not all, of the riders in the two groups who started after us.
Like the ascent up Mont Chauve, there are brilliant views of the coastline: this time from Villefranche to Eze and, indeed, of Eze village itself. It’s also a popular spot with dog walkers and one needs to keep a look out for our four footed friends. I would hate to run over someone’s beloved pooch.
I haven’t seen the results but I know I was last; however, I may well have been first in my age group. Checking my records, I note that my ascent was 8 minutes quicker than last year’s, a considerable improvement.
Postscript: As I suspected I was indeed last, by some way. The fastest lady was twice as fast as me! More telling, I was only 2nd in my age group, some 20 minutes behind! Methinks, I really need to work on my ascending skills and push myself much, much harder.