A few weeks ago we interviewed Claire Frecknall. We spoke about her first multi day cycling trip, her favourite pieces of gear and her upcoming adventures. One such adventure is about to start and goes by the name of ‘Further’.
With the inaugural race about to begin, and the Breakaway team about to start the long drive down to the Pyrenees to get involved in the accompanying rally, we thought it would be a good idea to give a brief preview to what looks like one of the most interesting gravel events this year!
A race that aims to cross borders, it also seems to blur boundaries. In the words of Camille the organiser and director ‘Further is Adventure Cycling, and exploring the boundaries of sport and experience, travel and culture’. More than just a bike race it aims to bring back some of the pazazz from bike races of old, where ‘hike-a-bike’ was expected, drafting was forbidden and every riding surface imaginable commonplace.
Inspired by the American counterculture movement of the early 1960’s and their appreciation for bucking the trend this race seeks to advocate a new way of seeing.
The invited riders from all around the globe will take to the start line at the foot of a steep and hard gravel climb located on the edge of Gaudiès, South of Toulouse. This terrain plus an understanding of the rules looks to separate out the riders and prevent bunching up. Once the flag has dropped they will begin their circuitous loop up and into the Pyrénées, ready to face whatever they encounter, be that weather or their emotions.
Perhaps the easiest way to explain what they face is to compare it to the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, except 1000 km’s further South and in Camille’s words ‘on steroids’. The twelve secteurs have names, much like the pavé further north, and must be completed in the correct order, tracked via timing chip. Ending back where they started it is going to be one hell of a ride. One might even call it a grand bouclé.
Whilst the racers race, riders will rally. There to support the race, enjoy the festival atmosphere and gathered to celebrate the art of exploring the world via the spin of two wheels. The prospect of a wild swim in the L’Hers river or a sip of cold beer after a ride certainly caught our attention, we will be making the most of the surroundings that’s for sure.
However, we are most excited to see how the event will unfold. Being the inaugural race there is so much anticipation and no-one really knows what to expect. A dream for us as storytellers but I can imagine somewhat of a nightmare for those organising.
Breakaway will be there to soak up the pre race nerves, participate in the festival and accompanying rally, enjoy a double espresso at ZeroNeuf Escapes and bring to you an insight into what we think looks to be the perfect balance between racing and reverence you’ll find on two wheels.