A brief report on what become an action packed weekend on The Rye Wheelers 2015 pilgrimage to take part in Le Carres de Vallees Sportive organised by our Sister Club “Les amis cyclos de l’ardresis”.
The action began the night before the trip when whilst preparing to leave to Time-keep the Clubs TT our Secretary found his precious Beemer at an alarming angle and in no condition to make the trip.
Frantic phone calls ensued and a plan came together that saw the Secretary swapping his roof rack to Sir Paul Wilson’s (the sec has bestowed this honour) car at 10.30 that evening, a quick change to the shuttle ticket and everything was back on plan. The following day saw 4 cars group up at Folkestone services before the Shuttle Crossing to France, that was not only delayed but they also managed to get one of our cars on the following shuttle. After a short trip and a stopover at the first services in France to regroup we set off to get booked into the Hotel get changed and get out on an easy social ride to Gravellines with our VC Roubaix friend Jean-Claude Cremers. Because of a frustrating check in process that saw most peoples credit cards rejected by a glitch in the system we were an hour later than planned, and the Secretary sorely stressed.
We met Jean-Claude in the car park and set off on a shorter ride than hoped for to Oye Plage, because of the delays. Jean-Claude not being from the area was using his Garimin to find a quiet rout out of Calais but predictably it wanted us to go down the nearest motorway. After a few U-turns and a tour of the suburbs we found our way out and headed off to our hoped for late lunch, Jean-Claude keeping the pace to suit all riders;
An improvised picnic and a few beers in Oye Plage saw a photo opportunity grasped;
and following a bit of banter a shorter more direct ride back to the Centre of Calais for another photo opportunity in front of the famous Rodin statue of the Burghers in front of the Town Hall;
Back at the Hotel Taxis were ordered, showers taken and we were off again for our evening meal arranged for us by Marcel Morreels at the Eurolac Restaurant by the beautiful lake in Ardres, where we were once again joined by Jean-Claude and for a few beers by Marcel and Karl Butor from Les Amis;
Sec with Marcel Morreels, President of Les Amis of Ardres.
The Restaurant proved well up to the task of feeding 15 hungry Wheelers and their guest, and not one Steak and Chips amongst the choices either. An evening of good food, drinking and banter ensued, probably not the best way to prepare for a Sportive but who cares it was one of the best evenings spent in the company of good friends old and new;
After a good nights sleep the Wheelers left in groups to start the Sportive proper, some electing to leave early to do the 140K, some the 100K and others the 25K. But the important thing is that they all took part and finished their chosen routes. The Carres is a very testing course with some testing climbs but all in the most beautiful countryside and limited traffic.
Feed stations on the route ensured on-one went hungry and also provided further photo ops;
But if these feed stations weren’t enough there were also village bakers open that the Sec couldn’t resist after being gently persuaded by Jean-Claude to sample a nice Almond coated pain filled with crème anglais, no photo it didn’t last long enough.
After completing their chosen distances the groups arrived back at the finish (and Clubs HQ) “Le Vivier Restaurant” for the easy wind down we have come to expect from our hosts Les Amis de Cyclos de L’Ardresis. Easy is not really the word, the beer flowed sausage filled baguettes were scoffed and old acquaintances met. And new friendships forged that will hopefully be re-established when we make our inevitable return in 2016.
On a personal note I would like to thank all those that made the trip and so whole-heartedly entered into the spirit of it, a fun sporting weekend with the emphasis on fun. Here’s to 2016.
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