With a fantastic weather forecast and a good bunch of riders signed up to take part, our Spring training weekend in Cheltenham promised to be a good’un and it was! Summed up perfectly by returning Lifer (2nd time) Chris Glazier:
“Great weekend, usual slick organization, really got me looking forward to living in that three-week bubble come June/July”.
And that’s exactly what these training weekends are all about: getting you into the Tour de Force way of doing things, meeting lovely fellow riders and getting really excited about the adventure that lies ahead in June/July.
Saturday was a gorgeously sunny day spent cycling through a lovely countryside, with some properly tough hilly sections thrown in (remember – the hills are your friends!). Everyone rode a great day, including several who were looking for a confidence boost and found it! Skills were honed with Gareth offering pointers and more experienced riders generously supporting those less so – exactly the kind of camaraderie that we love to see out on the roads of France.
We were also joined by WWMT Trustees Rick, Monty and Jonny who, along with Gareth, did a great Q&A session over a pub lunch. At least ¾ of the riders opted for the additional 20/25 mile loop at the end of the day that included a brutal 25% climb where all but 2 riders were forced off their bikes before arriving back at the hotel exhausted but satisfied with a job well done. Dinner in the Harvester pub next door witnessed enormous amounts of food being demolished by hungry riders!
Those with Mother’s Day commitments headed off on Sunday to be replaced by a fantastic bunch of around 10 TDF Alumni who represented every year of the TDF since 2012. Riders old and new mixed up on the road to share tales from the road, with the Alumni readily encouraging the newbies.
A Sunday Roast lunch was enjoyed in the sunny beer garden of the Farmer’s Arms with a wonderful view over yellow rapeseed fields, which, with a bit of imagination, could have been a field of sunflowers in Provence. The stage is set!
A much flatter day, the 55 miles were ticked off in record time and even with the leisurely lunch we were all back at the hotel by 2pm, with plenty of time to get back to families and friends. One rider even made it home in time for a 2nd roast dinner! (well – I’m sure he earned it).
It was a great weekend and Event Manager Sarah and Lead Cyclist Gareth thoroughly enjoyed meeting our 2017 TDFers and being reunited with our wonderful TDF Alumni. We can’t wait for the Tour of Wessex weekend! If you can join us there, do! https://www.tourdeforce.org.uk/tour-wessex-27-29-may-2017/
And check out our facebook page for more photos from the weekend.