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Rapha Randonnées

Rapha Randonnées are week-long adventures on two wheels. Challenge yourself in the mountains and refuel with excellent food, culture and company. After several seasons of running Randonnées across the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites, we’re delighted to take our guests to some of our favourite routes in the US and Japan. Our support staff and facilities take care of the details, letting you focus on the ride. At the end of the day, hand your bike over to our mechanic, take a massage and enjoy the evening’s excellent food and festivities.

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J'ai testé une boucle de 20km à cheval aujourd'hui. Je suis partie de Marines qu'il faut traverser un peu avant de rejoindre le Bois du Callouet. Près de Neuilly-en-Vexin, il y a des variantes (points noirs). A partir de Chavençon, le chemin est très bon, très “roulant” avec possibilité d'un bon galop jusque Romesnil. Ensuite, il y a un peu de bitume, mais très peu de voitures. Cela nous amène devant le beau chateau de St-Cyr-sur-Chars. Encore un peu de bitume et puis, encore de bons chemins herbeux cette fois. Pour revenir jusqu'à Marines, j'ai longé une départementale. C'est un peu passant, mais Little Fly a l'habitude. On peut revenir sinon par le Bois de Chars et Brignancourt, mais ça rallonge un peu.

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(click on the pics to enlarge and read the captions).

I went AWOL last weekend ! 

DAY 1, Saturday : 
I took off from Versailles on Saturday morning, heading to Rouen to join a good friend of mine and to spend a nice couple of days hanging out with other people too.

It was the second time I was biking to Rouen, and didn’t make the same mistakes twice ! I headed straight from Versailles to Mantes la Jolie by the RD307, saving at least an hour of riding. There is a bit of traffic as you’re approaching Mantes but overall is ok. 
I then crossed the Seine in Porcheville and hammered straight to Les Andelys where I took my lunch break. This is where the road begins to be a bit more hilly, and way nicer ! Normandy ain’t flat ! After lunch, I rode to Rouen facing a bit of head wind, and completed my journey with the ripping descent to the city center of Rouen and ended at Guidoline for a coffee, a brioche and a nice chat with a good fella. 
135km, 6,5 hrs with 0.5 hrs lunch break.

DAY 2, Sunday :
We were supposed to go to Dieppe or somewhere rather close to Rouen to see the Ocean, with a couple of other people, but we ended up being just the two of us, so my friend suggested a nice route to spend the day.

So we took a rather early start, 8.30AM on the saddle. The day was going to be mild and sunny but the temperature was cold in the morning.
The first climb out of the city get us warmed up quite fast though ! It was the first time I was riding through these places and really enjoyed it. Normandy has such a nice countryside ! Beautiful old houses, rolling hills, ripping descents…
We finally arrived in Etretat around 1pm, just in time for lunch ! OYSTERS BRO’ ! If it hadn’t taken so long to be served, maybe we would have pushed a bit further in the afternoon, but hey…you gotta chill sometime, so we stopped looking at the map and just seat back and enjoyed our oysters and mussels and all. 
We had a look at the cliffs, said hi to Arsene and jumped back on the saddle, 2 hours later after this substantial meal. We followed the velo route from Etretat, all the way down to Le Havre and Honfleur. It really is a nice route, quiet, very very few cars, but the only thing that pissed us off quite a few times is the lack of signs ! Either too small or absent, the velo signs are a pain to read when you ride over 10km/h… 
We went through Le Havre, down the port area, and as the sun was beginning to set, we agreed on stopping in Honfleur after crossing the Normandy bridge. We took a stroll in the city to see the harbor, picked up food and set up camp wild and fast near the city center, without neglecting the view ! 
163km, 11hrs, 2hrs lunch break.

DAY 3, Monday : 

Early start to be out of sight by the sunrise, and off to the nearest cafe and bakery to start this new day properly. 
Not neglecting the view had been a good thing as we could admire the sunrise and the skies on fire over the not so far Normandy bridge while packing our stuff in the bags.
We then hit the road, heading back to Rouen, I was starting to feel the kms at this point and the strong headwind on the way back really affected me at some point as we were riding through some long straight sections in the fields. Fortunately enough, my friend gave me shelter behind him and I sucked his wheel to go through this. The fun part was to cross the Seine three times in a row, allowing us to take some rest and eat a bit. 
Did I mention we had been really lucky with the weather ? We arrived in Rouen, get off the bikes, and the rain immediately started to pour !
90km, 4hrs. 

Overall it was a great weekend of riding, we enjoyed the last rain-free days and mild temperatures to camp without too much gear. 
I was a little bit anxious to ride with my friend as it was only my second long ride with my brand new AWOL but everything went smooth. Which leads me to some thoughts I had though…While I really love the AWOL, and while I know it still requires some fine tuning on the position, I found it quite hard to ride at a good pace during theses days, making me think it might be a bit too “adventure” oriented rather than real randonnee (brevet pace in mind, here).
All this is food for thoughts but, I picture my perfect brevet bike having a maximum output with the minimum power input from me, meaning a shorter frame I guess, and more lightweight (carbon fork with eyelets ?). I’d also think twice on the cable routing and plan on some serious internal wiring for rear derailleur and all. 

Anyway, this could also come from me, maybe I don’t have enough legs yet to push it properly when loaded…as you all know that Eric Nohlin rode a few thousands kilometers on this bike without major issues.
I also know that I still have to get used to ride with panniers, even though the Transcontinental edition bags are cake ! They are light, air tight and sit nice and low on the bike with a Tubus tara front rack. Making it amazingly stable at high speed in fast descents.

Stay tuned for more and RIDE ! And go see the rest of the pictures on Flickr as I just selected 10 pics to post here. 

أنا اسمي تونسي و لقبي من قاع الخابية, بلادي هي مرايتي و فيها نكتب حكايتي. حكاية ولد كان يحلم بدرجيحة و طباشير و جناح خطيفة في السّماء يطير. حكاية ولد أمّن بالخرافة و عشق مطعم الكنافة, حكاية مغروم ولد الكشّافة, حكاية ولد تولد في كلّ شبر مالبلاد تونس جندوبة بنزرت و سوسة, لعب في صغرو الزربوط و البيس و أختو عيات تزغرط في لعبة العروس و العروسة, حكاية ولد بزيّانتو قلمّاتو صوّر البربيشة و شاناباتو. حكاية ولد زرب يحبّ يكبر و في الحومة بزربوط و بيسة يمشي و يتكزدر, حكاية ولد كبر في تاجروين و منّوبة و تطاوين و عدّا فيها سنين.. حكاية صيف و عطلة تتعدّى نابل فخّار أصل و مفصل, صيف هيجة شدة و غميضة مع الصغار و طريحة من عند أمّي مادام روحّت عرقان ننكت للدّار. الطّفل هذا قرا و كبر و محبّة تراب البلاد نقشت في قلبو رحلة عمر, صنع من حنيّة البلاد جناح و هو ليها بعلمو سند و سلاح, الطّفل هذا كبر و تعلّم في محبّتها يعزف بالكلام بريشة وورقة وبرشة غرام.. في روح كلّ واحد فينا يرقد الطّفل هذا فوق درجيحة بين الشمس و النّجوم .. ما تسكّتوهش وقت ما يحبّ خلّيوه يقوم .. قوموا اخدموا البلاد و نهاركم زين يا متجوّلين !!!

First ride on a Fat Bike today and it was excellent. My friend Christoph lent me his 9-Zero-7 to ride in the Bréal-sous-Monfort Randonnée and I can’t find the superlatives to describe this bike. More fun than a barrel of monkeys having sex in an elevator was the first thing that came to mind. This bike rumbles over anything in its path. There were technical descents that were no longer technical, and things I wouldn’t be able to do on my normal mountain bike. I’m hooked.