Monday, July 26, 2010

"You're not in France now, Luv!" (WARNING long blogpost)

Yesterday was my first ride since we arrived  home last week.  THE Coach invited me to accompany him on his Sunday morning ride. Yes, I've graduated to the Parramatta ride.  It is 50 kms and has to be done as quickly as possible.  Well, those are THE Coach's rules and rules are mean't to be broken...
When I heard it we had only cycled for five minutes, up over the Gladesville bridge and down on to Victoria Road.  Hadn't heard one for at least a month - the unfriendly honk of a car horn.  In one sharp jolt I was reminded that cycling in Sydney is nothing like cycling in Paris...
Maddie, Harry and I on the velibs cycling Parisian style sans helmets!
Victoria Road is a long way from the quiet country roads of the Dordogne and Lot districts.
Somewhere along the road in the Dordogne or the Lot districts.
as I pedaled along yesterday, ignoring THE Coach's calls to 
"Catch up and draft in behind me!" memories of France kept drifting back. 

over the Parramatta River reminded me of our evening strolls along the Seine...
 or the many bridges we crisscrossed over the Dordogne, Vezere and Lot rivers. 
of the smokestacks in Silverwater seemed to strangely resemble the towers of villages and chateaus...
Manicured lawns
of Oatlands House tiggered memories of beautiful patchwork fields and shady verges...
As THE Coach kept beckoning to "catch his slip stream", my thoughts drifted back to
our peloton
where there was always someone keep me company at the back of the pack, up the long hill rides.

Somehow downtown Parramatta made me think of market day in Sarlat and the 
beautiful bastide towns.  
Ahhhhh memories, I'm sure that's what slowed me down yesterday, or perhaps it was my memories of the Hills.
As we pulled into the usual Wareemba cafe a fleeting thought crossed my mind -
Should I order a
baguette, croissant, glace OR be tempted by the plat du jour...
And then reality struck - raisin toast -
"You're not in France now, Luv!" was the vibe THE Coach sent me across the table.

It was a wonderful trip thanks to the great itinerary organised by Cyclomundo and decouverte-loisirs; the helpful tips from friends like Anne R, Catherine, Mary and Julieanne who shared their Dordogne highlights during our long planning phase, and most of all, thanks to all members of the Sparke-Porter-Glare Peloton who shared the joys of cycling together each day.  It was, for me, the trip of a lifetime, or perhaps the first of many...
A unique family Peloton
Fresh legs as we set out on the morning of our final ride -
Stephen, Paul, Monica, Jenny, Genevieve and Bill.
Final shot of the Peloton as we finished outside Hotel Terminus, Cahors.
Genevieve (my sister-in-law) described the roles adopted by the Peloton members in a recent email to her family:
"As the tour progressed the members tended to fall into their natural roles within the team:
Jenny - Captain and team instigator, chief croissant and glace assessor
Stephen - coach, forward scout, mechanic, sommeiller
William - hill coach, navigator, mechanic
Genevieve - translator, assistant chief croissant and baguette assessor
Monica - physio/trainer, lunch-time restaurant spotter, assistant glace assessor
Paul - photographer, medico, mechanic and tour blogger
One comment that was made several times during the trip was how many attributes Stephen shared with Colin. Especially his insatiable curiosity and bottomless reserves of energy."

Here's to the Peloton ...
to our next cycling adventure...
Cheers to THE Coach... it's not over yet and so the blog continues.


  1. Pam says she would loved to have been there with you.

  2. Felic says..........Nice!!!

  3. Wow what a long post.

  4. Yes, you were warned. Now I sound like a proud photographer but if you click on the image, it will enlarge. All photography credits to THE Coach.

  5. Jenny, what amazing pictures and clearly an unforgettable holiday. Very jealous!

    Love the bit about each person's roles. Nearly laughed out loud on the bus when I read yours. Perhaps we should review the French bakery up at the shops one lunch time ;-)

  6. COACH would just like to say that his pupil rode her own race. Ie his orders were not always obeyed. So all credit to her. And also, that the Parramatta ride is not supposed to be taken as a sightseeing tour. It's purely for fitness. You just put your head down and keep going until you get to the end. No plat du jour, no stopping to take photos...

  7. What a fabulous holiday Jenny. Fun, food and fitness..........and France. I think you can add champion cyclist as well as writer and blogger to your list of skills. I was going to add photographer as well but then I noticed that THE Coach was the photographer. So you're the writer and he's the photographer. What a pair.

    Jen you reached your goal. Well done girl!

  8. Looks fabulous! Yes France is nothing like Victoria rd in Sydney!! xxx

  9. Great to go on the journey with you via the blog Jen - look forward to hearing and seeing more of the trip and welcome back to the world of blogging!