Now that the hard part of the season is over I decided can start doing events a little bit more for fun than forPB’s! And a local sportive was just the thing to start with.
Given that I live just 2km from the start Croissy this was a perfect end of summer sportive with a choice of 3 distances 63, 90 and 127km. In addition, the route is one that I’ve trained on/around many time before so there was no stress about getting lost. Cyclo Club Croissy (www.ccc78.com) are a well known local club and this was the 35th year for the event with just under 500 riders entered from around the area.
In addition to myself and Maciej from Expatriés there were a dozen or so of the gang from the Paris Cycling Group in attendance. A totally relaxed start – we all met up at 8h30, registered then and there (just €4 with anFFTri licence for the 90km option inc refreshments!), had a coffee then set off together.
It was very weird at the beginning cycling with a gang of people around where I normally go running on my own but it made a very welcome change. Early on we got the heart rate going as there was the climb up to St Germain-en-Laye, straight back down and then the long uphill part through Fourqueux towards St Nom de la Bretache. Once we were through to the other side of the Fôret de Marly-le-Roi it was then on to some flatter roads on the Plaine de Versailles which is where the fun started. The PCG boys quickly formed into a peloton with some other riders and before we knew it the pace was up to just under 40kph. For a while any thoughts of a relaxed ride were going out of the window…. However I was soon being spat out of the back of the peloton and then lost the gang as I got caught at a T-junction in Les Alluets. For a while it was then business as usual as I was then riding on my own, down on my aerobars, but at least doing 34-35kph and regaining some ground…
After a long, fast descent into Maule with a group of ACBB riders it was then pretty much straight back up towards Jumeauville where I came across Maciej again and we decided that the PCG boys were too quick for us and to ride together at a more ‘relaxed’ pace. We quickly came across the first refreshment stop but then were told that it wasn’t for us!! The cups of Coola-Cola were for another group who were assembling for aUFOLEP Yvelines TT race!! It was another 15km before our pit stop in Hargeville for some squash, to say hi to the PCG lot and to get our ‘brevet’ stamped.
From there we decided to split with PCG going one way for the 127km option and myself and Maciej going the other way for 90km. For the second half of the race the sun came out and it was a real pleasure to be out on the road heading back thru’ Thoiry, Andelu, Montainville, Thiverval-Grignon, Chavenay, Villepreux, Noisy-le-Roi, Marly le Roi, Le Pecq and then past the end of my road in Le Vésinet back towards CCC’s clubhouse (a proper house with a garden!) As mentioned by Shannon who did this event last year the route was really well signposted and even though I knew where I was it was nice to know that we did go off the beaten path.
With about 10km to go it was good to see Paul Betts waving at me but he was coming the other way with another gang out for a different Sunday ride…
And back at CCCs HQ there was a beer and a hot dog waiting for us all included in the €4 price. Money extremely well spent for an extremely well organised and friendly event which offers something for all riders of every ability. I’ll def be back next year!
p.s. if you ever need inspiration for where to cycle West of Paris you could do a lot worse than going to www.ccc78.com for routes and maps. Or let me know and I’ll send you a few ideas as I can promise you it’ll make a nice change from the Vallée de Chevreuse.