Le Sportif 2012
Come to ride.
There comes a time when we are all faced by a choice between God and science. This is the story of Le Sportif (de Pip) 2012.
The forecast motif is gloom. If the chance of a shower is 50% or greater then they forecast rain. This is not the motif of Le Sportif, which is a motif of unrelenting optimism.
So in the face of a threatened thunder and apocalypse, the group rolled out across the Severn Bridge start. Climbing and descending to Usk warms the legs for the run out to Abergavenny. The Welsh market town opened its damp arms to a group that was eagerly anticipating the climb of Gospel Pass.
True to form the valley road saw the skies cleared and freshened, the climb dried the riders, who were met by the support car with hot coffee and snacks. This was new to the ride, and proved a better option on the Cusop climb.
But before the Cusop climb comes the descent of Hay Bluff. Seeing the road twisting away across the hillside never fails to astonish. The view is the first thing on crossing the pass. The enormity and clear washed beauty of the view was everything, and as your head turns right the road flutters and unfolds into the distance. This road has something else, something ethereal in its perfection and the huge distance it descends at such high speed. Not typical.
The Cusop climb with warm legs and a shot of adrenalin was a new proposition. Breath taking literally and metaphorically.
Rolling roads sap tired legs down to Oriental Splendour. But these roads are so quiet, the untouched and un-forecasted foreign land of a perfect sunny afternoon, a taste of riding heaven. We chose God, not science.
Down through the Wye and hard over the Tintern climb is the, now traditional, run for home, the last hard miles, smashed and yet savoured.
There is nothing to match the beauty of the Severn under the arc of the distant rainbow with ethereal light reflecting off the still silver puddles forgotten by the ebb tide, a breathless, light headed, endorphin fuelled finish.
For a rider’s eye check the Cycling Weakly report.