By Joshua Lawless
For those of you that don’t know, I am racing professionally in Brittany in a small regional team (U.C.L.H.) courtesy of the John Ibbotson Fund that support and set this up on my behalf. We are just over the mid-point of the season and Steve said it would be a good idea for me to update everyone on what life is like over here and how my cycling is going.
The level of ability over here in France as compared to the racing scene back at home is on a different scale, over here I am just a decent Second category rider, whilst in Britain I’m a first/elite category rider. The races are so much more difficult as your average National B ranked event like the South-East Regional Champs are slightly less difficult or the same in difficulty as a 2/3 category race in France. Whilst in Britain you only have one step up in quality after that to National A ranked races, here in Brittany there are still another 2 higher ranked races after the 2/3 ones.
Cycling is definitely one of the major sports here, with closed roads, literally thousands at some of the bigger races and as many bike shops as there are football pitches; it’s truly amazing and I am a very lucky boy. Some of the fields have had over 200 competitors in them and going up some iconic hills like Plumelec really is spine-tingling as the crowd separates before you, the horns blast, the bells ring, the fags, the beer, the wine, banners across the roads, graffiti on the roads and lots of flags… The sensations manage to manifest themselves into getting every last ounce of suffering out of your body. Continue reading