The Coupe de France, at Lons le Saunier, was chosen to be the tune up race – ahead of the next World Marathon Championships. It had been a lengthy five weeks of training away from the race environment and so the Yorkshire brother duo chose this race to be their final preparation for the first of their major goals of the season.
Seb – “Whilst at my base in Alsace, I’ve put in a few really good solid weeks of training, in preparation for the Marathon Worlds and the following British XC Champs. When you’ve had so many weeks ‘out’ of the circuit it’s essential to get back in the racing groove. With the Coupe de France always turning out huge numbers of world class competitors, the racing is so fast and aggressive – which is exactly what’s needed to catapult the body back in to action.”
This was certainly the case in Lons le Saunier, on a course of three thirds. Each lap was wide, flat and fast to start, then tight and punchy in the middle and finally finished with some tight and twisty turns before becoming flat again. The circuit was relentless, with next to no opportunity to relax or recover. Any lapse in concentration and the slick top surface, or protruding roots, would take you down.
Hamish – “Racing in France is as close as you can get to a World Cup, other than actually being at one. The time gaps are so tight, if you make a mistake, you can loose four or five places, just like that and similarly if you have a serge, you can move up ten spots in the space of one lap.”
Both Seb and Hamish had their marathon legs on and dieseled their way through the race at a consistent speed, knocking off the riders ahead. All the way to the finish line. Looking forward to the World Champs 87Km race, a time of around five hours was a very positive sign indeed.
Hamish – “The narrow nature of the track gave limited passing opportunities, which didn’t help the slower starters or make it easy to move through, but the race served its purpose perfectly.”
Seb – “Sometimes you have to approach a race looking at the bigger picture. Doing big mileage right up to an XCO race (with its fast explosive speeds), was never going to be the ideal preparation for that. However, I knew that a very high intensity session (in this case a race), at the end of a huge block of training would be the perfect form of preparation before one of my main goals.”
Seb – “I’m really confident of where my body is and can’t wait to get stuck in to the unpleasantly steep climbs of the Italian Dolomites on Saturday!”