Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Ariegeoise 2017 - My First French Sportive.

Ariegeoise 2017

Yep that's right, I've finally signed up to the Ariegeoise sportive in June 2017! The only problem I have now is having to wait so bloody long for it! Some cycling friends on Facebook presented the idea of the Albigeoise in May but with cycling tours booked during that week it meant the Ariegeoise was the next best fit despite not being quite as local and more than double the amount climbing.

Interestingly, I understand from the lads here who have a few of these French events under the belts, that unlike in the UK there is usually a very large contingent of participants who take these events very seriously, basically like an all out race, so there is a competitive atmosphere that I'm very excited about.

I've wanted to do something like this in France for years but for one reason or another just never got around to pulling the necessary things together to organise it. Since moving to France in June the logistics of taking part in a French sportive got a whole lot easier so I really don't have many excuses not to do a couple.....apart from our first baby and running a new business - obvs!

Col d'Agnes Ariege
The Col d'Agnes
I've chosen the XXL and the guys I'm riding with will most likely go large too - which means 149km and 4300m of climbing.  I've always been captivated by the mountains and a few years back I took a brief interlude during our summer holiday to spend 2 days cycling in the Pyrénées so I've some idea of what to expect from the body on long climbs but I've got some work to do if I'm to counteract the attritional effects of multiple ascents but I'm quite excited to give them a bash:

Profile Ariegeoise xxl 2017
I've not climbed any of these cols previously and looking at the Strava segments for each I'm not expecting an epic performance on any! Depending on the legs, I might have a concerted bash at the Col de la Core and the Col d'Agnes but that's me saying that on a lazy Sunday afternoon and not having cycled (at all) in over a week.

Col de la Core
I don't need to worry though, as we've got a lots of great roads and climbs near us to help prepare the legs and the mind before attacking the Pyénées. Also, when you come from Coventry in the UK, you don't get much chance to do any big climbs without a fair bit of travelling and effort so I'm much better placed to give it go now we're in France permanently. We also have some cycling guests in for a week in March on one of our training camps and then our season of road and leisure cycling holidays kicks off in April so I'll have plenty of cycling under my belt by June!

If you've done the Ariegeoise already then I'd be interested to know a bit about your experience of the event or, if you're doing your first French sportive this year, let me know which.

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