The Guvnors’ Assembly (Should know better arm) had their first mass overseas expedition this August the 19th, please find enclosed our humble recount of the day’s events when four jolly Rostbif travelled over the English Channel to spread entente cordiale with our French Cousins.
Headquarters were established in the corner of a field in Kent, after a Fish and Chip supper we tucked ourselves up in our cots, soothed by the music from a distant saxophone dreaming of Vin Rouge and baguettes.
Revelry has sounded at 4:15 ante meridian and the Guvnors’ sprang into action packing kit and preparing for the first leg of out trip and pleasant pre-sunrise ride down into the town of Dover where we are marshalled before being led out along the harbour to the ferry. After a breakfast of champions we discussed team tactics, alighted on foreign soil and began the ride proper.
The ride began with us heading out towards Sangatte and the first notable climb of the day, the fist of many notable climbs, as an aside I am afraid to say over the course of the day I lost count of the number of notable climbs we summited, naturally for every leg sapping ascent an equally adrenalin fuelled decent followed courtesy of the Sturmey Archer drum brakes. It’s always a joy to see the look of surprise when a fellow cyclist is out braked by a Guvnor rider, fortunately the fellow cyclist cannot see the look of blind terror on your face as you vainly attempt to retard your progress.
After about 25 miles the first feed station was organised, Brioche consumed, bottles charged and away. It was at this point we were informed the temperature was around 36C (97F) we made a mental note to “drink plenty of fluids”. Shortly after the feed station the route diverged in to the “Standard” and the “Epic” a sort discussion and off we headed on the “Epic” route to the sound of about a dozen team clad riders cheering us as they took the “Standard” route.
What followed was a testing route through picture postcard cliché French Countryside, farmers greeting us, les enfants providing cool water showers (I choose to believe in Tour de France style) and some of the most patient and courteous driving I have ever experienced.
After a final climb that would have had Mr Wiggins crying into his pint we reached the outskirts of the docks, it was here we took our Time Trial an inch (centimetre) perfect line of riders head, astern making progress at unheard of speeds, negotiating roundabouts without a pause in a scene reminiscent of the great cycling classics (we were all a little tired so the mental image may not exactly match up to the reality).
Then the final time check-in and the ferry home.
As is usual a few special mentions, our very own Mr Charles for completing his first ever Sportive and setting a PB for distance covered. A Guvnor at these events always causes a bit of a stir but the humour, support and encouragement from our fellow riders gave us a few extra gears for the hills.
France, Ladies and Gentlemen on behalf of The Guvnors’ Assembly – “Merci”