OK, so the Duo Normand is a bit of an obsession of Team Grumpy, but I think justifiably so! Over the years we've had variable fortune in the event.
2003: 9th place (Veterans) 01:24:01
2004: 5th place (Veterans) 01:22:18
2005: 4th place (Veterans) 01:23:15
2006: 2nd place (Veterans) 01:23:11 (This was the only time we've ridden in wet/windy conditions)
2007: did not enter
2008: 2nd place (Corporate) 01:22:28
For 2009, we've once again entered the Corporate category, but it's too early to hazard a guess as to how we'll do, particularly given Grumpy Bob's rather lack-lustre season. So, why do we keep going back?
The answer probably lies in the attractions of (effectively, if not actually) closed roads, in an environment where time triallists aren't targets of abuse, where hosting a major time trial brings an entire town out in festival style. And little touches, like having a real start ramp, a grandstand by the finish line, and incomprehensible tannoy announcements!
There's also the attraction of a fortnight's holiday in France (at least in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009). While Normandy's tourist attractions are rather limited, if you like peaceful cycling in rural roads with low traffic counts, polite motorists and abundant seafood, then Normandy's pretty good.
The Duo Normand is ridden on a "sporting" 54.5 km course through some delightful rural countryside.
Over the years, we've seen a gradual withdrawal of P&O Ferries, leaving Brittany Ferries as the major operator. This year, the Grumpy Art Vanderlay voiture should meet the Grumpy Bob voiture at Cherbourg ferry port, as out ferries are schedule to arrive within 15 minutes of each other. We're planning a convoy to our acommodation. Last year, Grumpy Bob and Mrs Grumpy had an interesting, if ultimately successful, time hunting along pitch dark rural roads for our accommodation!
For a full course description, and entry details, see the Duo Normand website - in it's ideosyncratic English translation.
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