Just got back from the Raid VAT in France, totally knackered so off to bed as soon as I have written this.
The race was a single 65 km lap over the one of the hardest courses I have ever ridden, one climb went on for about 5k and was steep, it took almost 30 min to get to the top. It was dry and dusty about 25 degrees on the Sunday, the course was very rocky up and down which made the climbs tricky and a lot harder work and the downhill’s were a perfect recipe for punctures. I pre rode 20 km of the course the day before and had 2 punctures, and I don’t often puncture, so on went some knobblies. Thanks to Continental and I pumped them up HARD! which would have made the ride very hard had it not been for the full suspension of the good old Mt Vision Pro.
I had some trouble with the French commissionaire (no surprise there then) who refused to grid me. Other top riders started to go through and as more and more lined up I became more insistent that he should grid me and then he refused to talk English and told me to talk French as he did not understand me and turned his back on me.
OK so now I was pissed. At the risk of getting disqualified before I had even started, I lifted the trusty Pro above my head and barged to the front. Once at the front I ducked under the tape and rode fast to the line with the organizers and riders behind screaming for me to get back, thankfully it was a bit of a ride to the line and they gave up in the end. So I found myself about 70th on the line with the better riders at the front when the gun went. The start was about a 3-4k climb and as I had no support and it was one lap I was carrying 3 bottles of FAST FUEL in my pockets and 1 on the bike (Not all that helpful carrying an extra 2.5 kilos off the start).
The course was great, dry and hard, too hard as most of it as it was all rock, the down hills were mad dropping off the top of mountains BLIND at 59kmph over rocks not knowing when the next drop off or corner was coming, there was some awesome single track too and I was flying after I had got used to riding off road again after about 3 month or so just road riding due to the rain and foot n mouth. My Hope disks were amazing and I don’t know how I’ve managed without them all this time. They were a major advantage when descending rack filled gullies for 5km at a time!
I caught people all the time and no one came past, although it was hard to know exactly what position I was. There were a lot of punctures and Greg Voulez broke his chain after an hour or so. but the tire choice and pressure paid off for me and I escaped them. I finished 13th in the end about 3 min down on Martinez. The race took me 2hrs 59 min!!!!!!!!! it was a BAD ASS race, hard as hell!!
There were 5000 competitors over the weekend and 800 in my race so you can see how big the event was, it was also a category E1 so some good points for me.
Here are the results for you. Check the quality of the field, top 10 like a world cup almost.
1 CHEVALIER JEROME TEAM ORBED 02:44:51 ELM
2 DUBAI LACONIC TEAM ORBED 02:45:58 ELM
3 HORSIEST CHRISTOPHER TEAM ORBED 02:49:42
4 DELEON GILLES TEAM LAPEER 02:50:44
5 CHIOTTY JEROME TEAM LAPEER 02:51:04
6 CERTAIN LAURENT SCOW DIJON 02:51:50
7 RAVINE CEDRIC SCOTT PORTS DUE SOLELY 02:51
8 CARD CLAUDE TEAM MUMBLES ATLAS 02:52:54
9 MARTINEZ MIGUEL TEAM FULL DYNAMICS 02:55:50
10 STEPHAN JEAN-PAUL TEAM LAPEER 02:56:34
11 BLAIN ALEXANDER TEAM EGO 02:57:37
12 MAURINE CANNOCK TEAM SPECIALIZED ROMEO 02:57:45
13 LASENBY PAUL ATB SALES/MARIN 02:59:26
Keep it up-right,