Friday, 3 October 2014

Superheroes of Suisse Normandie - road trip 2014

On Wednesday 10th, Paul, Sprucey, Chris and I set sail for another adventure in Suisse Normandie. This wasn’t the whole team as Greg and Si were late editions they could only travel via Euro Tunnel, so planned to dive down in the early hours to all rendezvous late Thursday morning.

Captain America
Day 1, Grimbosq
Once we all got together we headed off to our usual first day destination of Grimbosq forest, however this time we proposed to ride one of the routes from the route pack.
In to Grimbosq we headed for the first singletrack run, this has a weird ‘bumpy’ surface that lasts for a good 500m, quite fun to try to ride fast. From here we climb to the top of the forest to the better singletrack. This is a snaking bath with roots, rocks and a couple of dips to traverse; we use this for photos and a little filming. We drop down to the old railway bridge over the river and then drop down to the river.

We follow the marked trail all the way to Auberge du Pont de Brie and cross the river then climb the road back to the forest then back to the car. The evening is spent with a BBQ and a review of the days video’s.
Greg having fun in Grimbosq
Grimbosq is always great for some singletrack riding
the railway bridge over the Ulm at Grimbosq
Day 2, Thury-Harcourt to Pont D’Ouilly
We parked by the Chateau under the trees and headed south. Once we hit the off-road, there is a decent warm up climb to Esson then over the next hill to the bottom. Here we usually turn left but instead we head right and climb the black route (it’s a black DH), it’s very technical with rocks, water, and roots etc but it cut the corner off to the paraglide launches. Here we dropped down a black run to pick up the GR to Clecy. The GR is amazing, about a mile of down hill running the length of the northern gorge. We pop out in Le Vey, across the bridge for a coke in clecy. From here we take a road climb to ride the LE Ham Downhill, another classic run of very technical and very brilliant singletrack downhill. We ride along the river with one more road climb to get to Pont D’Ouilly but Chris’s front brake locks on and will require further investigation.
In Pont D’Ouilly we have pizza for dinner then a short pit stop in the park while Chris gives his brake some attention. We ride out on the east side of the river heading for Clecy until disaster strikes….
Coming of a simple downhill run on to a tarmac road Sprucey and Greg have a coming together and both take a tumble of the bars. Greg has a cut elbow and a bruised knee but Sprucey is obviously hurt.

We make the decision to cut the ride short and head back for the cars, however Spruce can’t ride so we leave Greg with him and Paul, Si, Chris and I go for the cars. This is easier said than done as we are a good 12 miles away. We head to Clecy and attempt to get a taxi, however they quote and 1/12hr wait, so we man up and ride back to Thury. The ride back is pretty nasty, a really fast road turning in to a bit of duel carriage way with very fast cars… We make it back, load up then head back to pick up our fallen comrades.
At this point Spruce has made his mind up that he want to head on home on the overnight ferry as a foot passenger to go to the A & E in Portsmouth. Paul does the mercy mission and takes him to the ferry while the rest of us have the BBQ left overs.

Day 3, Superhero and Greg’s birthday…

L to R > Batman, Boba Fett (should be Robin), Venom Spiderman, Captain America, Spiderman. MIA The Hulk
After much debate we decided on a straight map ride (RED 30) from Athis-de-l’Orne. This ride starts with a quick lap of the local forest then back out over the road to the ride proper. Its not long and you drop down in to a gorge with deserted factories along the bottom, but the ride turns in to a seriously steep climb when you have to climb out again.

The ride is punctuated with lots of bridleway style tracks with lots of flow and speed.

We get back to the car and head in to Clecy for lunch and a coke. After lunch Greg is a little sore so we decide not to ride again, which is ok as my bike now has a puncture.
The evening is spent with Greg producing a roast dinner (Sprucey’s stand in) and lots of wine…
Sunday comes and it’s time to pack up a go with Simon and Greg heading back to the Tunnel with Paul, Chris and I back to the ferry.

Our thoughts are already plotting Suisse Normandie 2015, we have unfinished business with the ride that was cut short with Sprucey’s and Greg’s accident plus next year it will be our 10th anniversary of cycling in this area and lastly and most importantly it will be Greg’s 40th birthday. We might have to squeeze in an extra day and make it extra awesome…. See you in 2015!

Pegasus Bridge
Classic Citroen Traction Avant


  1. I do enjoy very much reading your posts and the pictures. Awesome scenery. Its really great see how much you all enjoy the rides. Really great. Anyway, I salute you from Miami, Florida. Cheers

    1. thanks, its cool to know somebody actually reads it!