Adam Tranter learns what professional women?s cycling involves on the Team Swift Racing training camp in Limoux, France
Today was our last day here in sunny, but now cold Limoux. I agreed with the riders to meet at 10am for some team photos, so they probably weren’t too amused when I awoke at 10.15am. Even then it was only because they decided to throw a packet of croissants at my head.
The girls rode a stage of last year’s Tour de L’Aude, it was colder than normal at around 5 degrees. You wouldn’t have known though, they didn’t even mention it once. Honest.
Our ‘Baguette Files’ project has now been officially launched, we have been circling Limoux before and after training rides searching deeper into the French baguette obsession. I’ve been taking candid photos of Limoux’s residents holding baguettes and been placing them on the Swift Racing gallery. If you’re in France and want to join in, feel free to e-mail the team through the team’s website.
With a later than normal start to the ride, there wasn’t much time left for coffee drinking and general dossing around after. The majority of the girls had to disassemble their bikes and put them into their bike bags for the flight home. I’ve quickly learned that the girls often need a little guidance on mechanical issues. But there’s nothing I enjoy more than cutting my hands on chainrings and other components. It did however, give me an excuse to whack out the latex gloves, I knew they’d come in handy for something.
In the interests of being economical, I somehow thought it would be possible to put two bikes, two sets of wheels and some other bits and bobs in my bike bag. It turns out in fact, that this is not possible at all. So my Ryanair flight buddy, Gabby Day now has to use her own bike bag.
The youngest member of the team, Sarah Reynolds was on the rota to cook the final supper with guest rider, Petra Dijkman. It’s amazing what you can produce from a week of leftover food. Sarah won the common sense award after trying to open a tin of Tuna for 10 minutes with a tin opener, before throwing it down in anger. As it bounced across the table, a ring-pull was revealed on the other side. Congratulations.
After dinner, I then went to go back to the other house and was bizarrely greeted by a mass of 40 people standing outside my front door. From what I could gather, the group were having a guided tour around the town. Apparently paying special attention to our first floor roof terrace. Limoux’s narrow streets found it hard to cope with such a large group of people, and so the whole road of traffic was stopped by simple individuals nodding to the voice of the leader.
After an eventful few hours of pairing socks, my bags are now packed and I’ll be ready to catch my early morning flight tomorrow at le grande Carcassonne airport. Women’s cycling is certainly on the up and teams like Swift are popping up in good numbers over Europe. Watch out for the Swift girls this season. I’ll leave you with some pictures I have taken of this slightly strange, but harmless little town. It’s been good and thanks for reading. Au revoir.
All photos by Adam Tranter/Fusion Media
LIFE IN LIMOUX: ADAM TRANTER’S BLOG
Weds, Feb 27: Life in Limoux
Thurs, Feb 28: Why does French soap come in tubes?
Fri, Feb 29: Stolen hats and fresh French waffles
Tues, Mar 4: French markets and badly trained donkeys
Weds, Mar 5: Happy Birthday Helen
Friday, Mar 7: Farewell to Life in Limoux
The Baguette Files: www.teamswiftracing.com/?section=gallery&gallery=23
Team Swift Racing: www.teamswiftracing.com