Sometimes great distances must be travelled to accomplish small feats. How far would you travel to race your bike for 20.87 km? I travelled exactly 4973 miles. One way. Why? Simple. Chrono des Nations. Chrono des Nations, celebrating its 30th year anniversary, is one of the largest one day UCI time trials in the world that signifies the end of the European racing season. How could I turn down this? After spending the last two years trying to conquer the concussions and the elusive side effects, I needed to give one last effort in 2012. Looking to the future.
So, I packed my bags and headed to France via Maine for the Dempsey Challenge, before landing in Nantes for the transfer to Les Herbiers, a small town in western France. Oh the places I have traveled to race my bike, but this was quite the distance. Quite the distance for a small feat, but it was an accomplishment nonetheless.
Les Herbiers (Hair-be-ay) smells quite a bit like Petaluma. It is known for its aromatic dairies and cheeses, it proximity to the famed Loire region for great rose wines, a medieval inspired theme park, and its love of cycling. Les Herbiers actually was the finish for Stage 1 of 2011 TdF, and for the last 30 years has hosted the largest invitational international time trial in the world. Cycling is ingrained within the cobbles and concrete of their streets and rolling hills of their countryside.
The Fete du Chrono was a week long and full of festivities for the entire community. I have always loved France, and it was time to take another crash course in my French speaking. Sometimes I wish my high school French teacher would just travel with me to ensure I wasn’t going to eat fromage de tete in a low blood sugar jet lag moment.
I finished the race in 2nd place to Amber Neben (USA) in the Femmes Elite. Although winning is always preferable, I am content I was at this race for the experience and the small success. Taylor Phinney was the other American represented and placed 3rd in the Hommes Elite category, although he was up against his rival Tony Martin, I am sure he wanted more as well. It was an incredible race to attend, and I would be happy to come back.
I did travel great distances to get there, but I will take that small feat of satisfaction with me forever. Sometimes we do have to travel so far for so little, but that’s when we know it matters.