We have quorum of 14 participants, an eclectic mix of Fiasco regulars and old friends from the Bordeaux run. Like the Bordeaux trip, the spirit of La Tourette is relaxing fun and a weekend away with like-minded gentlemen. The riding is not a race but we do have a ferry to catch on Sunday, so it will be a whistle-stop tour of the beaches.
Friday 5th May
For those who can take Friday Afternoon off and ride down to Pompey:
2pm depart from Godalming HQ and ride to Portsmouth Ferry Terminal - Quick pint at Rowlands Castle and decide whether to ride or train the last stretch. (43mi / 69.2km)
For those with work / other commitments:
Suggest 17.51(at the latest) train from Godalming (17.00 from Waterloo) to Portsmouth & Southsea
20.15 Ferry departs for St. Malo - latest check-in is 1hr before but we do need to check-in together as we are a group booking.
Saturday 6th May
07.15 Arrive St. Malo, fresh as daisies, breakfast on-board.
Ride to St. Lô along the coast, taking in a drinks stop at Mont St. Michel and then to La Haye Pesnel for lunch Last leg is 50km to St. Lô - (80mi / 130km)
Overnight stay in St. Lô at http://en.inter-hotel.com/hotel/basse-normandie/saint-lo/saint-lo?gclid=Cj0KEQiAuJXFBRDirIGnpZLE-N4BEiQAqV0KGkmJPDFDBHbuFX-opQeY5fr5jSHh8O7GTVgCNher3OgaAmXm8P8HAQ
This is an out of town affair but has bike storage and is clean and comfortable.
Suitable evening recovery and refreshment. I have booked a table at a town centre brasserie which is a 20 min walk into town from the hotel.
Sunday 7th May
09.00 dep St. Lô, head up to the coast and then along the beaches to Ouistreham to catch the ferry (60mi / 100km)
From St. Lô up to Omaha Beach. This is where the Septics landed. 1st Stop for drinks is the Omaha Beach D-Day Memorial on the coast. From here it is a few km along the coast the the American Cemetery, immortalised in the opening and closing scenes of Saving Private Ryan. We will stop here for a poignant wander before cracking-on along the beaches; Golf d’Omaha Beach (Wang and I did a couple of golf trips here back in the day), Arromanches (famous Mulberry Harbour - google it), Juno Beach (Canadians landed here) and Sword Beach (Brits landed here). Then on to Ouistreham. We will have to play lunch by ear, depending on progress / mechanicals. The hard stop is that we need to be at ferry terminal by 15.30.
16.30 Ferry Caen (Ouistreham) to Portsmouth, arrives 21.15.
Train back from Portsmouth and Southsea. Trains at 21.53 (if we leg it) or 22.53 (painful).
First of all, I will go back to one of my original comments - the spirit of this ride is relaxing fun and is not a race. It is about having an enjoyable ride through the French countryside whilst enjoying the local produce (mainly cheese and cider).
We are a large group of varying abilities and styles, however the main aim is to make sure we get there as a group, whilst minimising mechanicals and losing members of the group (off the front and back).
Therefore, we need to ensure that we ride as a group as much as possible and its important that we try not to lose the peloton. If you really feel the urge to surge ahead, it is imperative that you know the route, know where the next all-up is, have navigation and inform the others that you intend doing so. Similarly, if you feel yourself dropping off the back, please make sure you shout so that we can re-group and knock the pace back. The route is pretty flat but there are some climbs and, as always, climbs do spread the riders but at the summit, let’s re-group. The route does get complicated in some areas in order to maximise the use of quiet roads etc., so don’t rely on following signposts. The route has drinks and lunch stops, so in any case we have all-ups at these stops, but generally front runners should wait at main junctions.
I have provided links to the latest route below and have split into each of the three days. Please make sure you upload these to Garmins and / or iPhones. In Ride with GPS, click on the Export tab and follow the instructions in the panel for your device but generally you should download the file to your “New Files” folder on your Garmin via PC - your PC will treat your Garmin as another drive. It will then appear in your Courses on your device when you unplug and switch it on. If using iPhone, you can either download the Ride with GPS app (very good) and then download the routes on your iPhone. Alternatively, you can upload the routes into Strava and use their navigation but I am not experienced in doing this.
I have now split the route into three. There are some updates as I did find some further off-road sections that I have now ironed out (sorry Paul). You can now treat these as FINAL.
St. Malo (ferry)-St. Lô
St. Lô-Ouistreham (ferry)
For the final day, We need to be in Ouistreham by 3-3.30pm to get the ferry, therefore I have not timetabled a lunch stop - we will have to play it by ear, depending on progress. If we miss this one, we will have to wait for the 11pm overnight boat.
Otherwise, please re-read details below and let me know if you intend getting to Pompey via any alternative than I have listed against you above.
•Ferry is booked
•Cabins for overnight ferry: We have 7 x 2 berth ensuite cabins,
•Cabins for return day crossing: I have booked 2 cabins for dumping kit, dumping and showers.
•Hotel is booked: We have 7 twin rooms. Hotel has bike storage.
•You need a passport that is not expired.
•2 nights away requires minimal kit but be prepared for inclement weather. For instance I will take some lightweight trousers, fleece, pair of trainers for off the bike plus spare jersey, waterproofs.
•For the uninitiated, you will need to work out how you want to carry kit. Options are rack and pannier(s), large saddlebag or rucksack. Personally, I think am gonna do single pannier.
•Bike prep is essential - if all of us have a puncture at different times, that would equate to over 3hrs of delays in total. Therefore to minimise likelihood of punctures, please check tyres and pressures at least the day before we go (Dazzler). Make sure you have puncture resistant tyres and be cognisant of the fact that you will be carrying more weight than normal. Bring spare tubes etc as normal and between us we can ensure we have some spare links and maybe a tyre or two but we don’t need to go all Neil Hilton and pack a deconstructed bike.