So you’ve signed up for the COCC, you’ve checked you have everything you need and you’ve brought along your bike and sense of humour. It’s 8am on Sunday 28 April and you’re all set for the St Tropez-Monaco adventure! Here’s what to expect.
Don’t be daunted!
First of all, you may be in the company of a few former and current professional cyclists (the Norwegian Thor Hushovd and Australians David Tanner and Calvin Watson are among them), but don’t let that daunt you.
“I see the boys and girls who don’t really ride much and, every year, they build up for the COCC,” says Tiffany Cromwell, one of Australia’s top female road cyclists on the international circuit. “For them, 140km is massive!”
But, says Tiffany, who’s been involved in the COCC since its early days: “In terms of rides around the area, “it’s probably one of the flattest you can do.”
On the first stretch of the route - from St Tropez to St Raphael, you’ll be able to admire some spectacular scenery as you pedal and then you’ll head towards Cannes.
“L’Esterel is probably the most challenging part - there are a few small climbs along there but it’s stunning - one of the most beautiful rides you can do,” says Tiffany.
From Antibes, you’ll ride towards Nice.
“From Nice to Monaco, it gets hard again,” says Tiffany. “Cap d’Ail can catch some people out but then there’s a nice downhill ride into Monaco - I think everyone’s very happy to have that!”
You can rest on the way
The good news is, there are stops along the way, generally three or four.
“We usually do 20 to 40 kilometres at a time,” says Tiffany.
The water stops are staffed by cheerful volunteers and you may be lucky enough to have a massage before you set off again. Although the locations of the stops change every year, Ma Nolan’s, the Irish pub by the port of Nice, is a much-loved fixture for the riders.
You should expect to arrive at Stars’n’Bars in Monaco at around 5pm.
“The welcome is amazing!” enthuses Tiffany. “Guys like Damien and Terry – who help organise the ride – the families and partners are all there to greet everyone. There are smiles, champagne and oysters. It’s a beautiful atmosphere, a true feeling of community and it’s all for a great cause!”
Then, of course, it will be time to celebrate late into the night at Slammers, grab some food from the BBQ and give yourself a big pat on the back for your amazing accomplishment in aid of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.