As promised here is my little review on my recent petite voyage to France to race in the D2 French Grand Prix (FGP). At the start of season I was put I into touch with a scout, who finds overseas athletes for teams to race for them. He found me a division 2 team (D2) at CRV Lyon. The FGP is a series of races that attract athletes from all over the world with competitive races and prize money the competition is very high through all the divisions.
A few weeks into the season I was asked to race for them in Valance and obviously I jumped at the opportunity! My flights were booked and before I knew it I was on my way. Just a little thanks to Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance for making sure I’m always covered when I travel. It was going to be a bit of a whirlwind weekend flying to Lyon on the Friday, travel to Valance Saturday for recce, race Sunday and fly back Sunday evening. I arrived at Lyon where I was met by 2 members of the team. It was a bit surreal getting picked up by whom at the time complete strangers that only speak a little English and then driving away with them! I stayed at one of my team mates’ house where I was welcomed by his family who were very friendly. After a night of trying to speak my best French… which isn’t very good (imagine Joey from Friends when he tries to learn! :D) We went to meet the rest of the team Saturday morning.
The rest of the team were also so welcoming and I really felt part of the squad even with the language barrier. After a course recce we had dinner at the local pizzeria where I accidentally ordered mushrooms despite hating them, but I kept quiet and put “learn French” high on the priority list! The place also weirdly had a sort of street rave going on outside (are they even a thing?). Anyway we all got back to team hotel and got our heads down for the next day’s race.
God, I look good in swim hats!
In the morning we were all ready and prepped to smash the race and come away with a great team result. The men’s team were already ranked 4th after a great previous weeks’ race. This would also mean we would have 4th choice of the starting pens at the start line. Later after racking, race numbers and a warm up the team manager Jacky was very keen to get us pumped and ready. He is a very lively character with so much passion for triathlon as was Jerad the head coach of the team.
It was a non-wetsuit swim that I actually didn’t really mind (shock I know!) the swim was very tight and I found myself right in the middle of it all. And so the same story occurred as with races before. Hop out of the swim mid pack and cycle with the chase group. I’m determined to make it with the leaders on the swim. I know where my weaknesses are and I’m working on them every single day with Louise’s guidance. Anyway as we had two team members in the lead pack and it was 3 members to count we were instructed to not bridge the gap and try and just hold it where it was. This was slightly unusual as I’m used to working hard to catch the leaders but as this was a team effort I obeyed the instructions and saved my legs for the run. We got to the dismount line and one of the athletes fell over his bike, after hopping over him (sorry!) I got my run on.
With a decent run I finished in 22nd place but more importantly helped the team get 3rd place in the team standings! I’m really happy to be able to play my part, and get on the podium with my new team mates. Afterwards we watched the women’s race; CRV has a stormer taking 2nd team placing. I loved visiting France and hopefully I will return to race for them again!
“Make sure you look at the camera” … Nailed it
Thanks for reading,