Check back here regularly to find out what's going on at the Steve Bernard Foundation.
SBF GOES BACK TO BAYEUX!
Wow! Where do we start? 26 riders including 5 people who amazingly hadn’t ridden more than 20 miles before all assembled at Poole Docks very early on Wednesday 6th June to load their bikes onto the Hendy Group sponsored vans.
We landed in Cherbourg mid-afternoon to a cold & breezy welcome knowing that we had 35 miles of hilly terrain to get to the first campsite where our 4 man back up team (BUT boys) had driven ahead to erect our tented village in St Symphorian le Valois on the western coast of Normandy. If the newbies thought that this was going to be an easy ride, the long drawn out hill of Cherbourg quickly changed their minds but everybody made safely to camp by 6 o’clock where the BUT boys had prepared a BBQ and had cold beers waiting for them.
Day 2 was going to be the easiest day of the challenge and so it proved with a bright sunny day with no wind and everyone enjoyed the 45 miles of Normandy countryside before settling down at the wonderful L’Eaux campsite which boasted an outside heated swimming pool for everyone to ease their aching legs & backsides before enjoying a Pizza & Leffe beer night before retiring to rest up in anticipation of the toughest 3rd day which was over 60 miles of relentless hills!
Day 3 didn’t disappoint but it make some of our cyclists despair, not only were the hills severe, we had a relentless headwind to contend with which even made going downhill difficult and for some of the keener riders, they had a few extra miles put on themselves after missing the first turning coming out of the campsite. Everyone eventually made it to the historical Martragny Chateau which was a key control building during WW11. The BUT boys had again set up a fantastic BBQ feast for the cyclists, some of whom took over 10 hours to finish and the elevation was over 1500metres (higher than Ben Nevis!).
Everybody went to bed early, there were a lot of tired people & they knew there was a 70+ mile journey awaiting them in the morning.
It was a drizzly start to day 4 but after everyone had eaten their Oomf! porridge, we all cycled en-masse for a tourist stop in Bayeux, the city behind the purpose of the original ride in 2009 greeted us with the magnificent Cathedral which was festooned in French, British & American flags in celebration of the WW11 liberation and everyone took this opportunity to take lots of photos.
We then all proceeded out of this beautiful city into the countryside straight into a 2 hour Thunderstorm where we all struggled to either find shelter or to tough our way through it! Some riders who forgot their rain-jackets had to improvise & use sign language in a café to get some bin bags to adapt into rainwear. It also was a day of punctures and tumbles with the rain causing havoc.
We must at this point thank our good friends at Primera Sports who again supplied us with all the mechanical equipment we needed to keep on riding and to our resident mobile mechanic, the wonderful James Horton who patched up, tweaked and repaired every bike that needed any TLC!
The Thunderstorm disappeared as quickly as it arrived and we were treated to some sunshine to complete this grueling day and eventually all arrived at the picturesque Anse du Brick campsite although we had to delay our presentation banquet at La Maison Rouge by a couple of hours to allow the cyclists to get showered & changed.
The presentation evening did not disappoint, the setting and the views, the food and wine and the company made for a great evening, we were sharing the venue with a Gypsy wedding and they were good fun too with our party chipping in the buy the bride & groom a bottle of Moet.
The coveted awards were dished out after an emotive speech from Stevie’s Dad, Tony and a comedy turn by ‘Van Rouge’ better known as Frampo after he had indulged in a few glasses of vino!
The winners were:
Best Rider: Paul Payne
King of the Mountains: Liam Jamieson
Comedy Fall: Paul Kimber
Dick of the Trip: Tony Bernard
Trip details: 238miles, 3120metres climbing.
We must thank our sponsors & supporters:
This has been another wonderful event set up by the Foundation and it must be said that this was a proper challenge with everyone overcoming all the obstacles thrown at them, the hills, the headwinds, the Thunderstorms, the long days in the saddle, a few punctures, a few falls but it was all done with a smile, some laughs & a grimace or two as well!