This is your opportunity to bid on a secret weapon for your team: James McCallum.
Your very own human derny.
James McCallum is a professional cyclist, competing as part of the Rapha-Condor-JLT team - and he is ready to ride as your fifth team member during the Bordeaux-Paris Challenge.
Your team decides his tactics, including how and when he is deployed. James can ride one stage, or multiple stages. You can use him as a derny to help pull you along or, if one of your team needs a break for a stage, you can swap them out and James can be your second rider on the road.
Sector 6 – St Pryve-St Mesmin to Boutigny sur Essonne (93km – ascent 210m)
Shortly after clipping into the pedals, we will be riding through the impressive town of Orleans and right past the front door of its impressive Gothic cathedral. The town will be just starting to awake to its Saturday morning; if you’re not too speedy you might be lucky enough to grab a noisette and a fresh croissant. We finally leave the Loire behind us after the village of Checy and continue to head north towards our destination in Paris. Back on quiet roads again, we initially trace the Canal d’Orleans before heading through the Orleans National Forest and back amongst the open fields. Pray that the wind isn’t blowing at this stage or you’ll be easily transported to the bleak roads of West Flanders. You can draw solace however from the fact that we’re on the homeward stretch. The sleepy town of Pithivers is another chance for a morning coffee before tackling another long flat section towards Malesherbes. Paris starts to feel within reach as we descend into the Essonne valley and start to negotiate a succession of dormitory towns which mark the Paris commuter belt.
The stories and escapades of the Bordeaux-Paris are inextricably linked with the Derny, the name given to the small mopeds used to pace the riders in the second half of the event. The event had always featured some kind of pacing but up until 1931 this took the form of human power, pacing riders either riding individually or on tandems, triplets or even quads. In 1931 motorbikes were used for the first time and in 1938 the famous Derny was used for the first time. Dernys are well known to anyone who rides the track or who has watched the keirin event at any track meetings and all these bikes still in service to the current day trace their lineage back to a design by Roger Derny and Sons of Paris.
Sunday 25 August, starting at TreeHouse School, Highgate N10 3JA
- Start time: 8.30am
- Ride length: 120km
Please register here:
All riders will be chaperoned by Alpe ride leaders to help with navigation and give training advice and the route will be followed by a support car. The ride will be divided into two groups of like ability, covering approximately 120km – the length of the longest sector on the Bordeaux-Paris.
Sector 5 – Veretz to St Pryve-St Mesmin (110km – ascent 330m)
Not far out of Veretz our route intersects the Loire Valley which we follow North-East for the whole of the sector. It’s the terrain to get organised and share the work over the practically pan flat parcours. Maybe it’s a sector to get all the team out of the bus and into team time trial mode. If you have time to lift your eyes from the wheel in front you might just see the Chateau de Amboise picked out in the moonlight, residence of several notable historical figures including Leonardo da Vinci and Mary Queen of Scots. Further upstream we pass close to other notable chateaux of the Loire Valley including the Chateau de Chaumont and Chateau de Chambord. Halfway marker of the sector is the city of Blois who’s twinkling street lights will be visible on the opposite bank. We continue to trace the Loire towards Orleans and the end of the sector in St Pryve-St Mesmin.
One of the final editions of Bordeaux–Paris featured an unsung Aussie, Wayne Hildred, cutting his teeth on the European professional circuit alongside fellow rider from down under, Shane Sutton (now head coach of the Great Britain Cycling Team). His account of the 1982 race gives a fascinating insight into the demands of covering such a huge distance and the perils of an overly ambitious pacer
Incorporating some microbursts into your aerobic training rides will help build your neuromuscular efficiency and stave off the boredom of long rides.
During a medium to long endurance ride you can include 10-20 ‘microbursts’. For these, ride at about 80-90% of max effort (so it’s a little short of an all-out sprint), but only for 8-10 seconds. Cadence should be 100rpm+. These will break up the monotony of the long ride and do wonders for your neuromuscular response or the speed with which your brain talks to your muscles and recruits them into action. So long as the intervals are 10 seconds or below you’ll still be getting the aerobic endurance focus of the ride. Make sure you have at least 5 minutes between each microburst. Spread them out through over the course of the ride and use a variety of gears whilst maintain a cadence of over 100rpm.