Le Petit Dragon Rouge
The blue circle indicates the location of Miers
Celtic Tri training camp
26 May - 4 June 2006
The way it was - by Coach Dai, pictures by Clive Crow
Thursday - 25/5/06 - 4 Guys, 4 bikes, 1 car, 1 shaky camera, bikes on the roof, guys in the car, point the car towards Portsmouth and we're off. 3 hours later, we are sitting pretty in the front of the queue ready to board the ferry, pull to one side says the ferry loading man, you're too tall to be in the front (I want to be a ferry loading man when I grow up, meeting interesting people day in day out, stars from Corrie and Eastenders waving gracefully back as I wave them on, I want to be a ferry loader when I grow up), an hour later everyone else has boarded and we are squeezed on at the back with the juggernauts. Phew !
Friday 26/5/06 - Good news, got 3 - 4 hours kip in on the boat, likewise everyone else, so rested and refreshed we make the 8 hour drive to LPDR. A good effort by Stuart who has to hand over the driving after 6 hours at the wheel. The honour of bringing us home to LPDR falls upon my shoulders and at 4 o'clock we roll in and are welcomed by the Baines Bunch. A quick shower and change and it's time to get some training done, no mucking about here, we are men on a mission. A 30 minute, mostly downhill cycle to the swimming lake reveals a superb facility, a lake with a 200 metre stretch of open water, a diving platform for pontoon starts and turns around, excellent stuff. We're in for an awesome week.
We're all impressed and looking forward to the morning dip and shaking hands with the lake spider......... ooohhhhh he's scary. Heading up the Dordogne Valley reveals a flattish stretch of road. Then it's the hills...................................................
.......................................a quick glance to the right and I can see hard man Huw is smiling himself as he relishes a week on the hills in preparation for the Austrian Ironman in 7 weeks. We head back to LPDR for supper and bed. Lush ! Total mileage Bike - 30.
Saturday 27/5/06 - After all that travelling sleep was the number one priority and a lay in was called for but by 10 o'clock we'd all surfaced ready for the off. Breakfast on the terrace was awesome and the sun had already warmed up the air to the low 20s. Love it ! The order of the day was a swim, to find a suitable bike loop for tomorrow, familiarisation with the area and a bit of tourism. At this point resident triathlete Teri Baines and her dog Kirk joined our group so now we're up to six. I was a little concerned that Kirk's bike handling skills were not up to scratch, he pleaded with us to join in but we couldn't find a helmet to fit or any shoes to fit him. Kirk was insistent that he should join our group and he sat on his bike and would not budge until we left with him. I really thought this was the end of the trip but fortunately a bowl full of Winalot laced with brandy soon sent him off to sleep and we carried him indoors out of harm's way. We were down to five and we rolled out on our first full day at LPDR....................
.........................The big plus of LPDR is that it's at the top of a hill so that when you start warming up it's downhill and easy. We make the lake in good time and once the wetsuits are on we're ready for the off....................
a quick change at the transition tree and we nabbed a local squirrel photographer to take a picture. Luckily we had Teri with us to converse with Monsoir Nutkins who was intent on haggling for every nut we had. In the end we had no choice but to hand over our complete stock of nuts including a 200 gram bar of Cadbury's Whole Nut. If ever you go to France they don't have a great selection of milk chocolate there. Take some Cadburys with you, it will help to smooth the way with any ex-pats you should meet.
A quick line up for Monsoir Nutkins, then in we went, one drawback is that the lake was a bit parky and it did take a short while (approx 6 - 7 ice cream heads) to warm up but 30 minutes later we'd all enjoyed a good session working on open water technique and skill...........
Once out of the lake and back onto the flattish road that runs up the Dordogne Valley As we are on an unofficial bike day the emphasis is on getting from place to place at a leisurely pace, but all thoughts of leisurely pace go out of the window as we go in search of some hills to put into tomorrow's ride, we turn an immediate right that goes up and up. Five minutes later and we're still climbing, a quick glance to the right and I can see that Huw is smiling to himself, again, he likes it and he's already pencilled this hill into tomorrows route. We call it Alan's Hill, why Alan's Hill I hear you ask ? When we got to LPDR, the management (Peter & Carol) kept calling Huw 'Alan', so we adopted the name for Huw for a while. I wanted to call it 'Huw's Horrible Hill but the choice was left to Alan, sorry Huw ! Long story that wasn't it ! The place at the top of the hill (in the above photo) was a village called Loubressac, very picturesque, we had to travel through it before descending to the Dordogne Valley floor.
Before going any further, let explain tomorrows format. A two hour loop, Huw does it three times each time with a different partner so we all get to do two hours each and Huw gets his six hour ride in, lucky bast***. The ride continues, the roads are quiet, the sun is shining, superb scenery, castles, chateaus, awesome stuff ! An hour later we are 10 minutes too late for lunch in a roadside cafe bummer ! so it's a sandwich and biscuits from the shop next door.
Back on the bikes and up another hill , a quick glance to the right and I can see Huw is smiling again, he likes it. It's tourists heads on as we make our way to Rocamadour, an amazing cathedral built into a cliff with a chateau on top of it, you have to see it ! to believe it ! Another photocall followed by the trip back to Miers. The big minus of LPDR is that it's at the top of a hill so that when you head back home it's up, up up ! Total mileage - Swim 1200 mts, Bike 41 mile
This is us with Rocamadour in the background
Sunday 28/5/06 - It's loop day and at 8.00 sharp Huw and I roll out on Huw's first loop, 2 hours later Teri & Dale roll out on Huw's second loop. 2 hours later..........................
.............................Stuart joins Huw for the final loop and the crowd gather to welcome them home, pom poms and all........................
After six hours in the saddle, 84 miles with loads of climbing Huw legs it around the block to get those legs in shape for running off the bike. Many Zzzzz's pass under the bridge before the guys head off to Rocamadour in the car for a closer look at the rock ! Total mileage Bike - Huw 84 miles, everyone else 28 miles Run - Huw & Dai 1mile
Monday 29/5/06 - We originally intended to do bike/swim transitions this morning but after Saturday's unplanned 41 miles on the bike it was felt that a day off the bike was in order. We switched to the long run in the morning and swim in the evening. Out came the Ordnance Survey map and 8.00 am we set out on a short loop of 40 - 45 minutes for Teri & Dale. Stu and Huw hadn't seen the Source Thermale, one of those spa lake thingyameebobs so that was our first port of call. After the Source we travelled along farm tracks for a while then we hit THE HILL. There is quite a descent from LPDR to the lake so we knew there would be a fair bit of climbing on the way back, and when we hit the climb it was Steep with a capital 'S'. We arrived back at the hotel to drop the youngsters off then off we went on loop two. More farm tracks but this time with stone age burial chambers dotted around the place to keep the troops entertained. That evening's swim session was aimed at sighting and sitting on feet, of course if you sit on someone's feet and they go the wrong way then you go too ! so sighting is still important even though you are having a tow..................................................
Huw & I stayed in for a little extra. Total mileage - Run - Teri & Dale 5 miles, Huw, Stu & Dai 13 miles. Swim - Teri, Dale & Stu 1200mts, Dai & Huw 2000 mts
Tuesday 30/5/06 - Tuesday was Transition day and thankfully after two early starts to miss the mid-morning heat a well earned lie-in took place. The morning consisted of cycle to the lake with swim/cycle transition work on the way (putting feet in shoes on bike). The swim took in starts and turns with a swim to cycle transition on immediately exiting the lake..............................
Time to chill ! We spent an hour relaxing at lakeside enjoying the sun the after the cycle, then it was back to LPDR where we were rewarded with lunch on the terrace. For the evening session we utilised the football stadium at Miers, although the village has a population of around only 300 the football stadium would be the envy of many Welsh League clubs and as it is off-season we were allowed to use it. I prefer to use a grassy area for bike/run transition training just in case someone hits the deck but thankfully the deck remained a triathlete free area for this session. Once transition training was completed we put it into practice with 3 run-bike-run bricks of 200 mts/2k/300mts with Teri & Dale running 100mts on the last leg for the first two and myself, Huw & Stu running the 2k bike loop on the last one. Before we go any further, two words about the food and hospitality at LPDR. .................
IT'S AWESOME !
Wednesday 31/5/06 - Time to put it all together it's sprint triathlon day, but first, get on the bikes and cycle the 8 miles to the lake. Again we split groups and distances, (us old timers don't want to be shown up by the youngsters). The youngsters doing 200 swim, 2k bike, 800 mts run, the fogeys, (and here I'm counting 24 year old Huw a fogey, sorry Huw !) swim an extra 400. Job done it was time to chill at the lake again and after the return cycle leg and lunch it was off to some of the local villages for sightseeing !
Thursday 1/6/06 - Pinch, Punch, first of the month. The first of two relatively easy days leading up to Saturdays 'longer' triathlon. Mid morning we rolled out for an easy 3 hour bike taking in Rocamadour twice and Gramat. The two photos below represent the descent into and the ascent out of Rocamadour
Gramat is the nearest town to Miers. For the evening swim we drove to the lake for a 1200 mts session, again not too taxing.
Friday 3/6/06 - We drove down to the lake for a 45 minute run on the flat, part of which run alongside the River Dordogne, this was followed by core strength exercises. The afternoon was spent in the town of Brive, famous for it's rugby team (European Cup Winners in 1997 and finalists in 1998). The team is also famous for it's nastiness, when they played Pontypridd in the European Cup in the late 1990s the match was termed "The Battle of Brive". When Neath played them in 1990, the Neath team walked off the pitch at half time never to return, and that was only a friendly. We spent an hour sitting in the sun at a roadside cafe avoiding anyone that looked like a rugby player. Total mileage Run 6 miles
Saturday 4/6/06 - It's 'long tri' day. Ouch ! say those of use who haven't done a great deal over the last couple of years. But filling the pockets with bars, bottles and bananas again, it was just like old times. It's back to the early start time of 8.00am for the cycle to the lake. Huw and I were first off swimming a 10 lengths 200 metre course, Teri and Dale were to join in on the last 2 lengths but true to form they miscount and join in at six. The penalty as we all know for miscounting laps is doing extra so they ended up doing 4 lengths (800) metres instead of 2 (400). That'll teach them. Out of the lake and after a relaxed transition..................................................................
............................................... we mounted the bikes and headed back to Miers. This was where Dale & Teri were to drop off and run while myself and Huw continued onwards. Four and a half hours, several bars, bananas and bottles later Huw and I roll back into Miers for the run. A much sharper transition saw me hobbling down the road doing cowboy impressions, as if I'd just been riding a horse, Huw was floating effortlessly over the ground next to me, I don't need that ! Towards the end of the run I waved him goodbye, but the bugger kept coming back for me and wouldn't leave me alone. Finally we got back to LPDR and Huw had the cheek to put in another 30 minutes on the run. Personally I couldn't have played tiddlywinks, it was time for Bed with a capital B.................................
.............................. As the sun sets over this sleepy village, normality returns, the lycra clad athletes tuck themselves into another beer, (you thought I was going say bed then didn't you) there were many positives, lots of personal achievements, bags of confidence has been gained and a good week was had by all on the first ever Celtic Tri training week !
Sunday 5/6/06 - Another long day, this time in the car, we pile into Stuart's trusty wagon for the last leg home, arriving home at 1am on Monday morning. Awesome, what a week.
A big thank you to all at LPDR for making it a wonderful week. and to Stu, Huw, Teri & Dale for making a coaches life easy by doing the business.
Have a good one - Dai Richards
Le Petit Dragon Rouge
Miers, Lot Region, France
Le Petit Dragon Rouge
TRAVEL OPTIONS - BY CAR
The cheapest method is by the Channel Tunnel although this does incur more tolls on the French side. Estimated times are for cruising at 70mph. There is always the option of a stopover in Paris if travelling via the tunnel.
1. Neath - Folkestone - Channel Tunnel - Paris - Miers (770 miles)
2. Neath - Portsmouth - Le Havre - Miers (638 miles)
TRAVEL OPTIONS - BY PLANE
Fares by plane change daily, the most direct route from South Wales
is Bristol to Bergerac, check out the websites below for options, last
minute flights can sometimes be picked up for next to nothing.
Pick ups from the
airport are sometimes possible, check with LPDR first if this is available.
Pick ups from the airport are sometimes possible, check with LPDR first if this is firstname.lastname@example.org
SUGGESTED TRAINING RIDES
Thanks to Nigel Pitt for the following rides !
the Banks of the Old
Leave Miers on D91 then right on D90 towards
Leave Miers on D91 then right on D90 towards Padirac.
After Padirac go East on D673 to junction with D38. Turn Left towards Autoire.
Just after small bridge, pass a layby on the right, go round a right hand corner and get ready to stop to look at view/take photo.
Continue on down to Autoire. Another photo opportunity.
Continue on to D118 until T Junction with D30. Turn Left.
Go through Carennac, (stop for photos) and Floirac to junction with N140. Turn Right, and go over ugly bridge with square concrete arches. Turn immediately left towards Gluges.
Little bit uphill then down again towards St Sozy and Junction with D15. Turn Left over bridge to Mayronne.
Just after Mayronne turn Right on D23 towards Lacave.
(You can either stop here for coffee & cake or wait until after the hill and stop at Cales)
Leave Lacave and turn Left and continue on D23 to Cales.
Turn left on D673 towards Rocamadour. Stop for more photos at Rocamadour.
Turn left at junction and continue on D673.
Cross N140 and continue to Alvignac. Go most of the way through Alvignac then turn Left on D20 signposted to Miers. Down hill past ďSource ThermalĒ then uphill. At the top turn 1st Right. Signposted 0.5km to Miers.
Ride to St Cirq Lapopie
Drive down N140 towards Figac.
Go through Figac and follow signs for A20 Autoroute on the D802.
We turned off the D802 at the junction with the D41 and parked at the side of the road.
Cycle South West down this flat road all the way through Cabrerets to the junction with D662.
Turn RIGHT here, (even though St Cirq Lapopie is signposted left.)
After about 500meters turn Left,
over the river
Great views along this road looking down on the river
Stop for Coffee & Cakes.
Go down hill and STRAIGHT Across bridge then turn right on the D662 towards Cajarc.
Turn right in Cajarc and continue on D662 following disused railway line.
When the railway starts dropping down to the right thatís the start of the 2k climb to Faycelles.
At the top, just past a bus stop turn LEFT towards Beduer.
At Beduer go straight across the junction and downhill back to the D41.
Turn Right to where you left the car. (That is if you left it there in the first place J
to the Bike shop in Souillac.
Leave Miers on the D11 towards Montvalent.
When you cross the Railway level crossing turn Left and carry on to the Junction with the N140.
Turn Right on the N140 and then left after 200m on un-named road (Next to Timber Yard) towards Mayronne.
Follow this road downhill through woods to junction with D15. Turn Right.
Go through Mayronne and over bridge to St Sozy.
Straight through St Sozy and up hill to junction with D803
Turn Left at junction with D803 then great downhill, under Autoroute and then Viaduct to roundabout.
Follow signs to Souillac.
Find Bike shop on the Right just after a junction on the right.
200m further down road nice hotel with tables & chairs on patio area in front to stop for coffee and cake.
You can either re-trace your route back or try to find the small road we cycled back on.
Past the Bike shop on the Left (just before the hotel) youíll see the signs for the Swimming Pool. ďPiscineĒ
Go up this road and follow it uphill and over the Autoroute then down hill to St Sozy.
From St Sozy go back over the bridge to Mayronne and follow the outward route back to Miers.
through the Woods
Head out of Miers towards Padirac. (turn right at Junction on D90)
Go through Padirac heading East on D673.
Turn Left at Crossroads on D14 towards Loubressac.
Turn Right at Crossroads in la Poujade and follow D118 towards Loubressac.
Worth stopping in Loubressac for a look around and some photos etc.
Carry on down to junction with D30. Turn Right.
Go to St Cere and follow one way system towards Brenenoux but keep an eye out for turning Right up D48. (youíre aiming for the Castle thingy that you can see for miles, on the top of the hill)
Donít go all the way to Castle, (I did, and found itís a dead end).
Find the road D48 that goes around to the left , keeping what looks like council houses on the left.
At the bottom of the hill it joins the D40. Turn Left.
Follow this road through the Woods all the way to Teyssieu.
Turn Left on D3 towards Brenenoux.
At the Roundabout go striaight on to the D14.
Follow this road to Nicole and turn Right at the square over small bridge on D43
Follow D43 until junction with D30 and turn right towardsCarennac.
At Carennac take the Left fork and go uphill on D20 all the way back to Miers.
Leave Miers on the D11 towards Thegra. Straight on at crossroads with D673 towards Lavergne.
Out of Lavergne
on the D36 towards Bio. Youíll be going
downhill and come to a crossroads before the
At the junction of the D940 turn Right and go for about 100m to find Left turn on D39 towards Lyme. When you get to the junction with the D48 turn left uphill towards the village of Lyme then turn Right on the D39 again towards Terrou. At Terrou turn left uphill still on the D39 towards Gorses.
When you get to the crossroads of the D30 remember where you are because youíll have to come back to here after visiting the lake. Go straight on and follow the road downhill to the lake.
Thereís a cafť straight on at the bottom of the hill (donít turn right) on the lakeside.
This looks like a great lake to do some swim training in, but we forgot our bathers and it was too cold to go skinnydipping!
After coffee & cakes go back up the hill to the crossroads of the D30 and take the Right hand fork and start going downhill.
You donít really have to pedal for the next 7km and itís downhill all the way to St Cere. Weeeeeeeeee!!
When you get to St Cere youíll have to follow the one way system around the town and look for the D30 out towards Carennac.
Once youíve found the D30 you can choose which road you want to return to Miers on.
We chose to go back up through Autoire, just because it seemed a nice hill on the way down the other day.
Then turn Right at the top and follow the signs on the D673 back to Miers.
Nigel & Karen outside LPDR