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2006 Group photo

Graham Wolfson, Nigel Leggatt, Laurie Soutter, Neal Soutter, Nigel Snow (Snowy), Paul Greenhalgh, Matt Allen, Steve Kay, Neil Ridley, Wayne Soutter.

2004 Quote of the Tour

"I just assumed that his Platypus had burst.... " - Steve Kay

Mike Tyler, Matt Allen, Mark Soley, Wayne Soutter, Neil Ridley, Nigel Leggatt, Graham Wolfson, Nigel Snow (Snowy), Paul Greenhalgh, Neal Soutter, Steve Kay.

Altitude profile Caen to Mammers

Altitude profile Mammers to Le Mans

  Paul's overview of previous trip

Morning - I am conscious that the rest of the team (excepting you 3)
have all done this event before at least once, so I thought it might
be helpful to bring you up to speed / spell out the nasty truths!

Logistics - we leave on the Thursday, the reason for this is that we
can catch an overnight ferry from Portsmouth at a decent hour
(7pm-ish) which means we have time for a few jars on the boat, and it
sorts out the first night's accommodation. (There's a choice, you can
book a cabin or do as most of the younger team do, and sleep on your
reserved couchette or more comfortably on the floor in the saloon).
The ferry arrives early Saturday morning.

We leave the race on Sunday, in time to get back to the harbour for
the overnight crossing, arriving back in blighty early Monday morning
(typically, 7-8am but do check if it's important). We'll have left
cars at Portsmouth, so we drive back home.

Cycling - The first day is the long one - typically 100-130km of
riding. This is through northern Normandy, we keep to small farm roads
and it is genuinely extremely pretty. The leaders go at a decent pace,
but we always end up strung out in bunches, and we stop fairly
frequently for breaks/to catch up so there's no stress. As a gauge, in
previous years there have been 2 guys riding road-adapted mountain
bikes, but I wouldn't fancy that personally! You don't have to be
mega-fit to complete the distance, but you'll enjoy it a hell of a lot
more if you've done a bit of training! Finally, there will be a
support vehicle so if anyone feels absolutely knackered / crashes /
breaks their bike, then support's right there.

The overnight stop aims to be in a market town where we camp in a
proper campsite, wash up and hit a local restaurant. (If you've never
tried Calvados, you will! Ack!)

Day 2 is the shorter day, and traditionally always feels longer than
it should! It aims to be about 50-60km, getting us to the circuit for
Last year we started a great tradition of stopping in Le mans 'old town'
for a pint on the way in - it's very historic and beautiful.

Return - Very little cycling, it will involve cycling to Le Mans
railway station (4km), and then at the other end from the railway
station to the ferry which is (odd, I know) about 20km.

So, in fact by the time we reach the circuit, the cycling's done.

Weather - The last 2 years have provided blisteringly hot sunshine,
The year before that was torrential rain that didn't stop for more
that 10 minutes all weekend. You make your mind up.....! It shouldn't
be cold though.

The Circuit - We will be booked onto a camp spot right next to the
track, so it's really convenient. Facilities in previous years have
been really good, with portable but very clean and well-maintained showers/loos etc.

It can be a bit grubby at the circuit, especially if it's dry because
it can be dusty (or, conversely, muddy!). We'll be in tents, but do be
prepared to be eating your meals from a poxy attempt at a BBQ whilst
sitting on a tarpaulin...

We shop in France, so the beer/food bill is usually surprisingly

It can be noisy; ear defenders aren't out of the question if you're
going to be near the track for long.

The circuit is well sorted with vending vans, so french 'burgeurs' or
whatever are always available.

Kit - Because the support van should be quite large, we can take quite
a bit of personal kit (within reason - you're likely to be heavily
fined by Riddler if it's deemed to be 'unnecessary'!). But do bear in
mind that we can become separated from the support vehicle for 1001
reasons, so make sure you have a basic minimum kit on your bike
(water, snacks etc). We'll take a certain amount of 'central kit' such
as groundsheets, kitchen
gazebo etc.

Right, I think that's it!

Neal and Neil, is there anything I've missed/misrepresented???

Looking forward to it, and it's great to have some new faces on this
tour. Get on yer bike!

Any questions, feel free to contact either myself or the Neil/Neals.

Paul Greenhalgh

Recommended Personal

Item Person Bringing Comments
Tent 1 PG 2
Tent 2 Matt 8
Tent 3 Snowy
2….. but not Wayne
Tent 4    
Tent 5? WS 1 + 2 deaf
Gazebo PG  
Gas stove & gas Snowy
maybe…. needs testing
French Road Map NR  
Chain Lubricant    
Big Bike Pump NR,NS,PG I will take mine to Bagshot and we can choose one
Disposable BBQ    
pans Snowy Flat bottom potjie if suitable
paper plates WS
disposable wine glasses NR
Cutlery All Bring your own 'spanners' and hang onto them!
Loo roll WS  
kitchen tool (big spoons etc)    
Kitchen Roll WS  
Bike tools PG !! But still bring your own puncture kit, spare tube and lock !
First aid? WS  
Bike rack NS, NR  
Tie-downs Snowy Snowy Lots of 4x4 tape and ratchett jobs
Groundsheet 1 Snowy Snowy (big enough for 4 standard bums, or 2 Wayne bums)
Groundsheet 2 NR for 2 people
Cool box and bag NR  
Cool pack NR  
Mug All  

Recommended Personal

sleeping bag
Bike lock
puncture kit, tube and pump
rear light (it can get dark in a rainstorm…)
cycling shoes, hat/helmet
sun block
wet weather kit
2 days' cycling kit
Linford Jizm (sports gel)
small radio
ear defenders?
bottle opener
credit card, cash
picture of wife
Kip mat
clothes for hot sunny weather
clothes for boggy wet cold weather…

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