Leaving well alone

It’s official winter’s here. I’m now wearing my winter riding jacket and, this morning, was wishing I’d worn full fingered gloves. The forecast next week shows midday temperatures dipping below 15C on the coast for the first time this year. Time to get out my woolly vest.

Since the commission decided a couple of months’ ago to reduce the length of the longer Kivilev course by 20km, I have been attempting to find a route which satisfies that requirement. I have looked at a number of alternatives, and ridden them to check them out, but the best I can do is a 10km reduction on the original length which involves more climbing, so we’re not saving much, if anything, in terms of time. There are ways of reducing the route but most involve using busy roads which frankly are best avoided. In addition, any route changes need to be approved by the local commune, it’s not unknown for them to refuse, particularly if it’s been used a few weeks before in another randonnee or sportive. Lots of the alternatives figure in earlier randonnees.

I drove the whole route yesterday to see if there were any unturned stones. There weren’t but it was an enjoyable drive. I broke my journey where I normally have a pit stop when riding the route. It’s the last toilet before heading into the Nicois hinterland. The route was frankly deserted and I was at times able to channel my inner Sebastian Loeb much to the amusement of the many onlookers: all sheep. In truth the existing route is well thought out and makes best use of the available roads and scenic countryside. Sometimes you meddle at your peril. It was one of those ideas which work well in theory, less so in practise. M le President has agreed that we won’t now change it.

This will of course also save me time as I can just update all the existing documentation, so much quicker.  I’ll be translating the brochure into English, Italian, Spanish and German before circulating it to magazines, websites, clubs and interested parties. It takes a while for a new event to build up a head of steam, but if we can grow it year on year we’ll be happy. I’ll also send an invitation to the Kazakh Embassy in Paris, maybe the Ambassador will again grace us with his presence. He certainly seemed to enjoy himself last year. We also invite the Kazakh Cycling Federation but as they largely compete on the Asian circuit it’s not been possible for anyone, other than racers from Team Astana, to attend.

Of course, we hope that next year’s event will again be supported by the professional riders who live locally. That’s a big draw for our participants. I’m also hoping to attract more exhibitors in the departure/arrival village to keep friends and relatives entertained during the race. At some point I’ll have to start planning my baking schedule. I now have a massive freezer chest at my disposal down at the club. Although I may just have to alarm the lid lest my cakes start disappearing.

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