A sporting weekend

Arriving riders with the castle behind

It seems as if there is some kind of festival here almost every weekend. They typically revolve around food and/or drink so to use up some of those calories, sports are often featured. This past Saturday the entire country celebrated La Fête du Velo and locally, hundreds of bicycle riders showed up at Carcassonne’s Place du General de Gaulle to participate. We got there early to see all of the colorful jerseys arrive and to check out the vendors who were promoting bikes with an electric motor plus a refund for buying one.

Like most European countries, France has a genuine commitment to preserving the environment. One of the many ways to accomplish this is to encourage people to use a bicycle rather than a car and this year the federal government will refund 20 percent (up to 200 euros) of the cost of the purchase of a bike with an electric assist motor. Apparently some local governments are doubling that amount. Although you still have to pedal, when Bill tried one out and went whizzing by me, quickly disappearing into the distance, the phrase “Ride like the wind” was never truer. Details on the refund can be found here: http://www.asp-public.fr/bonus-velo

Marathon poster from their Facebook page

Continuing with the weekend’s theme, on Sunday was the Carcassonne marathon that took runners from the castle, down across the 14th century stone bridge, in through the medieval walls of the lower city, out into the countryside of vineyards and chateaux, back along the Canal-du-Midi with a finish at the city’s stadium, home of our French Cup-winning rugby team. I just looked at the results and saw that the winner ran 3 times faster and 2 hours longer than I do on my daily treadmill “excursion”. Looks like I’d better pick up the pace.

While some were biking and others were running on Saturday and Sunday, the local Marine regiment held their annual 2-day Crossfit competition to aid wounded soldiers. Elsewhere in town were 2 professional rugby matches and a football (soccer) game. Next weekend the city’s calendar shows the Sports Festival and the annual Swim Meet that always attracts national athletes. Hey, when’s the next Wine Fête?