Report by Bob Burden
Three members from the club made the journey to Ardres, France to take part in the annual Le Carré de Vallées rides, which are organized by Les Amis cyclos de l’Ardresis.
Alyson Nye, Liz Grundy and Bob Burden decided to make a week of it, finding an outstanding Gites at Ostove, after Bob had made an error with the booking of the usual accommodation in Bois-en-Ardres. Staying from Wednesday to Wednesday allowed us to take in many of the lovely lanes and places of interest in the area including a visit to the Blockhaus d’Eperlecques, Cassell, Gravelines, Guines, Watten as well as many more of our favourite local places.
On the Saturday before the event we met with Mike Coulter and his wife from the Gravesend CC for a meal at Le Vivier, the headquarters of Les Amis cyclos de l’Ardresis where we met up with many members of the local club preparing for the next days event. It was a great lunchtime, but soon became obvious that Mike can still ride a good Time Trial and Bob can certainly talk one!!! There was of course a very warm welcome from the Ardres club president Marcel Morreels who was good enough to recommend Aux Marronniers restaurant to us which of course we tried on the Tuesday – a great place to eat.
On the day of the event our alternative accommodation meant a seven mile ride to the start, so it was an early start for us all. Having arrived it was the usual happy atmosphere at Le Vivier and having registered for one of the shorter rides it was off to follow a well marked route along a series of lanes that were a dream to cycle along. As always the refreshment stop was so welcoming and well stocked it would have been so easy to of overstayed our welcome.
Back at the finish there was the most welcoming site of a BBQ with a sausage sandwich and a beer waiting for us where we again met with Mike & Mrs Coulter, who were then moving on to Provence. We also managed to catch up with Paul Simpson of the Rye & District Wheelers who is also a great supporter of this event. The weather was very kind for the event and we made the most of it by returning to the Gites via Gravelines.
A great event, great company, great friendship and a great time for us all.