For next season I’m going to be based in Normandy in a small town south of Cherbourg called Bricquebec. I travelled over to France via the ferry early on Friday morning and met with the manager and English speaking president of the team. The team I’m going to be riding for in 2014 is Team Hauge Cotentin.
After meeting up we headed over to visit the accommodation that we would be staying in for the year. The team house was quite a big renovated three story building situated on the edge of town. Next to the team house are the garages where the team vans and spares are kept. This is the ‘central hub’ of the team and therefore is going to be very different to the situation I’m used to in the UK where I’m the one out on a limb hundreds of miles from the team base. The house was quite basic but I’m sure it will be made into a home from home over the long race season. The town is located in a rural area with rolling countryside and climbs up to 3km long, which will be perfect for training.
We then went to the bike shop that is going to be sponsoring us for the year to try out bike sizes. The bikes are to be Orbea Orca Gold’s with Shimano Ultegra and Mavic wheels. They looked really nice and I can’t wait to get racing on them for the coming season.
Over supper we discussed the race program and how everything would need to be done throughout the year. There are some very good races planned including a 9 day UCI 2.2 stage race in August in Guadeloupe. The calendar had over 75race days planned so it’s going to be a long hard season, but something that I’m very motivated for and looking forward to.
The next day I had a short amount of time in Cherbourg before heading back so I tried to practice a bit of French ordering lunch and a few coffee’s. I was surprised that I knew enough to be polite and order at a café.