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Details: Category: Cycling | Published: 03 August 2012 | Created: 26 November 2014 | Hits: 5415
I spent just over two weeks in France this summer riding the hills and mountains of area of the Aude in Limoux, France. It was a good time, but my intent was really to race. Since that didn't happen, I am putting together a trip back to the area in May 2013. I am looking for six strong experienced UCI licensed racers to go with me for the experience for a total of six people. We are going in May because races happen April-June. April is too cold, and there are interesting races at the end of May into June in Ontario.

This area of France is hilly even mountainous. If you think the Niagara Classic was hard, you ain't seen nothing yet. This area of France makes the Niagara Classic look positively flat. There are very few flat roads. Grades of less than 2% are considered flat. For example, the 10 Hills training ride is 100km, 2500m climbing, and ends with a climb up the Limoux wall: 800m, avg 14%, max 20%. There isn't a single flat section for 100km. You'll be begging for mercy at the end of the ride.

I'm looking for guys interested in riding hard, and racing. You understand what "Rule #5" means. The letters D, N, and F are not in your vocabulary. If you want to do sightseeing or think this is a vacation, then I suggest booking another trip to Paris with your wife/husband/other. We ride in the AM and nap in the afternoon. Every hill top will be a KOM opportunity. We will have easy days, but when we are training, we are looking to go hard: AND I MEAN HARD. On the Wed, we will do a 15km time trial (up hill, of course). If weather permits, we will do a mountain pass (Does riding 15-20km up hill sound like fun?) (Ok, we might stop at the top of the climbs for photos....)

A quick summary of the trip will be as follows:

For the cost of about $625 (subject to change based exchange rate), the following would be included:
- 11 days in France staying in a rented house. Everyone gets their own room with an Ikea style single bed/desk, but washrooms/kitchen/laundry are shared. If you need five star accomodation with room and maid service, I'd be happy sent you the link to the local hotel. It's only 109EU/night. I'm going to ride my bike/race. I want to go with people with the same mentality. You must be willing to share in the cooking/cleanup and be capable of make your own bed. A photo of the kitchen is below. Notice the bikes are parked in the kitchen.
- airport transportation included (to/from Toulouse airport - that is a 220EU cab ride otherwise)
- transportation to/from the race included and potentially team support by a French speaking local racer/cyclist
- assistance with race licensing (CCA on this end, and FFC on the French end)
- race registration fees included
- up to 30EU included per person to cover food for the house (just the basics: milk, cereal, oatmeal, vegies, fruit, pasta, etc.). Beyond that, you will be responsible for food for yourself and any special dietary needs.
- garmin TCX files for routing, guided training rides (I've been there twice already). Check RIDE WITH GPS for routes we did in July 2012
- tentative dates are Sat May 4 - Tues May 14 - Racing on Sun May 12 in a FFC/UCI sanctioned race (no gran fondo stuff)
- cost is based on 6 guys total
- flights via Air France are about $1200 round trip to Toulouse via Paris + $150 CND each way for the bike box.
- you can pick your own flight/airline, but you must be in Toulouse by 3pm May 4, 2013 to catch the airport transport. No reductions in cost if you choose to get your own way to Limoux.

At the moment, I am looking for four more interested people for a total of seven. Please email me (mark at buckaway dot ca) if you would like to go, no obigation at this point. I will be looking for deposits in Sept/October. 

Photos from France July 2012:
col de_pailheres