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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Ominous weather forecast for 2018 Duo Normand

Team Grumpy has been anxiously monitoring the weather forecast for Sunday 23rd September (Duo Normand day), via the very excellent XCWeather website. There's a spot of decidedly awful weather blowing in for the day of the race - see this screenshot:
It is possible that in the next four days, this forecast will improve, but frankly I doubt it. Team Grumpy will be packing spare road wheels in case this weather materialises. The team's start time has been confirmed as 10.32am, but actually the strong gusts will affect the whole field.

Sunday 2 September 2018

The new Duo Normand course

After a fatality due to a collision between riders and another team's following car a couple of years ago, a change in course was pretty much inevitable. In 2017, the teams' following cars were taken off the course prior to the final out and home section of the course, as it was owing to the design of this part of the course that the accident was able to occur. For 2018, the organisers have announced a new course. This takes in about half of the 'main part' of the old course (but ridden in the other direction), before heading off eastwards.
Grumpy Bob had made an approximation of the new Duo Normand course on Garmin Connect. Note that there's a little uncertainty around the precise start and finish of the course. It's likely that the finish line will be as before , in the main street by the square, and that the start will be nearby, heading downhill initially and then on to Montcuit. The profile of the course suggests that a reasonably flat and quick section is bookended by some pretty hilly stuff, some of which will be new to Duo Normand riders.
While on holiday in Normandy, Grumpy Bob had a leisurely tootle round the course on the tandem, getting a bit of a feel for it, and how it compares to the previous course. Of course a ride on TT bikes will give a better idea of how it'll play out. The Duo Normand website has a video of some sections of the course. Some thoughts arising from our easy ride round the course:
  • The start seems like it'll be quite quick as riders start on a descent. But it quickly gets a bit tough, particularly on the long climb to Montcuit (in the old course this was a fast descent leading to a very sharp left hand turn that Team Grumpy dubbed Ghoul Corner. In reverse, this is a sharp right hand turn, and it'll be important not to lose too much speed.
  • There's a fast descent next.
  • Shortly after, there's a lengthy climb to Le Mesnilbus.
  • Then a lengthy, twisting descent through Feugères down to the marshes, and round to Tribehou.
  • Just after Tribehou, the course turns left, away from the road used on the old course towards Le Hommet d'Arthenay. This bit is quite flat with some gentle drags. At one point we ride through a dense woodland.
  • Le Hommet d'Arthenay has a couple of relatively gentle traffic calming speed humps - worth keeping an eye out for.
  • Then there's a lengthy rise as the course approaches the main motorway to Saint-LĂ´ - the course flops from one side of the motorway to the other, eventually reaching a double roundabout.
  • There's a lengthy climb to La Chapelle-en-Juger - probably this is the toughest climb in the final hilly section of the course.
  • We then go through La Chapelle-en-Juger to Montreuil-sur-Lozon, where there's a sharp left turn onto the final approach to the finish. There's a long drag to a summit that experienced riders will remember from the old course's out and home section, but after this there's a really fast mile or so to reach the finish.
All in all, this looks to being rather a good change to the event. It'll be safer without the hairpin section, and the sections used in the old course are now new to us as they are being ridden effectively in reverse.

Friday 23 June 2017

Duo Normand 2017

It's June, and Team Grumpy has entered the 2017 Duo Normand despite an almost total lack of form. This is due (in the case of Grumpy Art) to a prolonged period of illness just as the 2017 season was getting under way and (in the case of Grumpy Bob), a mysterious drop in form. Oh well, Team Grumpy doesn't let minor issues such as lack of fitness get in the way of a fun extended weekend in Normandy!

Travel arrangements are sorted, as are the accommodation requirements.

 After last year's tragedy involving a collision between a veteran team and a supporting car near the finishing line, Team Grumpy had wondered what changes would be implemented in the 2017 event.
To be honest, Team Grumpy has long felt that the following cars were more of a nuisance than a benefit and with one exception has eschewed the use of a following car. It's in the final hairpin section from Marigny and back, that cars are a particular issue.

From the Duo Normand website, it seems as though following cars won't be permitted in the final 12km of the course, and that there will be some neutral vehicle arrangement to aid stranded riders in that section. It also seems there's a clash in the UCI calendar that may reduce entries in the Elite category.

Team Grumpy first participated in the 2003 Duo Normand, and in all subsequent editions bar one. This is Team Grumpy's 14th Duo Normand outing.

Sunday 15 January 2017

First Open event of 2017 entered

The Team has entered its traditional season opener, the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25' in south Wales on 12th March, on the Resolven-based course R25/24. As usual, this will form part of a weekend with the equally traditional preparation which involves conspicuous consumption of curry and Belgian energy drink. On the equipment front, Grumpy Bob's SRAM eTap system on his primary TT bike is once again functional, after a two month wait for a replacement part. So no equipment excuses there. And both Grumpy Bob and Grumpy Art have been engaging in some serious turbo training. So, perhaps unwisely, Grumpy Bob is exhibiting signs of optimism.

Saturday 7 January 2017

The Year Ahead

It's that time of year when Team Grumpy starts shaking off the cobwebs and thinking about the upcoming racing season. Grumpy Bob's already made his first outing, the North Bucks Road Club New Year's Day '10'. Not brilliantly satisfactory, but at least the rain held off until the ride home. The Team is just about now planning its first event of 2017, which should be the now traditional outing at the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25. This year, the event is on 12th March. So that's the first target for Team Grumpy. We have also been thinking about returning to the Duo Normand in 2017. Just to whet the Team's appetite, Grumpy Bob plotted the Team's times since 2003...
The dotted trend line is a little morale-sapping. Indeed, when GrumpyBob emailed the graph to Grumpy Art Vanderlay, he gained the following reply:
Will you stop doing this sort of thing.
Ho hum, business as usual!

Sunday 1 January 2017

Duo Normand 2016

Here is a somewhat belated post, outlining Team Grumpy's excursion to the 2016 edition of the Duo Normand.


Monday 17 August 2015

Duo Normand 2015

Well, the new Duo Normand website came online the other week, late enough to cause some minor worry for Team Grumpy, who had already booked ferry crossings and accommodation a few months ago.
The new website certainly looks considerably more modern, and is easier to use for anglophones. It also features PayPal as a means of paying entry fees, and indicates how many entries have been submitted for each category. So that's good. On the other hand, we've not had email confirmation of our entry!
Anyhow, looks like all systems are go for another crack at the Duo Normand. Watch this space.