Spring is (almost - sigh) there, and so it's time to take part to my first cyclosportive ever. Défi47 is a cyclosportive in Prayssas (near Agen) offering two courses: 82km, 1400m D+, 175 riders; and 130km, 2000m D+, 196 riders. Not really knowing what to expect for my first participation and because the course was also hilly (a notable climb every 8km or so) I decided to take part in the 82km circuit.
Arrived on Friday, I decided to ride the circuit to get a feeling of my sensations and detect any dangerous turns or descents. I was happily surprised by the overall good road state - it was actually a concern of mine to ride high-speed descents in the middle of 175 other riders on a bad tarmac. Some descents were actually a bit tricky with steep inclines and sharp turns so I found the reconnaissance to be very useful to feel ready on race day.
Saturday was a rest day... And nothing better than watching Paris-Roubaix Femmes for that! What a great victory from the Trek Segafredo team once again 👏.
I headed to Prayssas after the finish to retrieve my bib number and tracker and set-up everything for the next day, including lubing my bike and making sure everything was ok.
Race day! I woke up at 7am, had a proper breakfast, checked the weather and the wind direction one last time... and went to the departure line.
The depart was a bit stressful because it started straight in a descent in which a car was stopped hidden behind a turn... First and only hot situation of the race but it could have been bad. I had a hard time to find my pace initially, as the peloton was riding on and off and wasn't constant at all, but I overall managed to stay in the leading group despite having stomach aches. A few kilometers later, a sharp turn followed by a wall made me loose my position because I didn't anticipate enough to pick the right gear.
Since that moment I spent many kilometers chasing and doubling other riders until I caught up to the second part of the leading group who split in two. I took my turns in that group to try to catch some of the riders ahead, until we finally did at around 20 km from the finish.
Finally, at 7km from the finish I once again picked the wrong gear in a sudden climb and lost my position in that group. I spent the last 6km chasing as much as possible, but it was too late to catch the leading riders - I only caught up the rear of the group in the last 1.5km climb, and there is the finish line: 40th/175 at 30.3km/h average!
I quickly visited Prayssas after heading back home. It's a lovely small place!
I am very happy with this first race! I really didn't know how fast other riders would go, how difficult it would be, how I would manage riding in a large peloton... But it went pretty well, I'm happy with the result, even if it could have been better if I didn't made a few mistakes and didn't spend all that time chasing. Looking forward for my next cyclosportive after more intense training sessions to be even more ready!