by Penny Rowson
My coach is Chris Georgas and he’s one of the most positive, calm and happiest guys you’ll come across. He’s an ex pro (a fast one at that) born in Canada with an impressive list of achievements and qualifications along with being an economist, a DS of pro women’s team and the Canadian and American national coach. Currently he lives his dream here in Limoux, as the owner of a stunning hotel and several gites based around cycling touring. Limoux looks over the beautiful scenery and snow capped mountains of the Pyrenees.
He takes nothing for granted and gets a thrill from the breath taking scenery every time he rides. You’ll never see Chris riding without a smile. He’s know for putting his ‘happy glasses on’ (orange lenses) that cost no more than £10, along with over shoes that have duct tape holding them together, his 10 year old limoux club kit (with pins to hold the leg warmers up) and an old school watch for riding time and heart rate (even though he lends numerous power taps out to his coached riders). He’s also known as the weather god studying the wind directions and figures out the best rides to stay in the sunshine, along with his knowledge and historic culture of the area resulting in quality cycle holidays. The fact we get to experience this for free on a daily basis is something I will be forever grateful of!
Off the bike Chris helps out as much as he can. Giving us the life’s lesson about how money can’t buy you happiness and it’s those closest to you who matter most. I really do admire his hard work constantly giving to those less fortunate. He runs a local club that i turn up to as the professional and encourage the kids. I end up riding before and doing hill reps with them, or the standard 15k TT then a steady ride back which always ends in hot choc! Chris’ famous recovery drink in the relaxing cafes of limoux, aka ‘his office’.
Along with Chris kindly volunteering to drive my french club team, Jessie and myself 7hrs across to chambery and 7hrs up to cholet this weekend he also took us a short 1hr drive to toulouse for the race which was definitely in my top 5 toughest races. Straight away off the start line we climbed a steep 4km climb, a bit of hesitance from when the neutralised car pulled off I kept in the middle at the front watching the flow of riders always moving in the peloton. The big attack soon happened, I followed and got my head down straight away giving everything to the top and didn’t look back. Once over this brutal climb we began the heavy rolling hills with added side wind, a small section of tail wind for what was the only breather of the race although you still had to get on top of a fairly big gear keeping the speed rolling, then turned a 90degree bend into horrifically strong cross winds where I really had to not only concentrate on pushing through my weakest section but staying up right!
I came past the next lap to find a few gutter victims being seen to as well. Next up to wear the legs down even more was a 90degree bend into the downhill section which could have been another section to take a breather, drink, eat, refuel. In fact it was headwind so you had to push on through down the decent and before you knew it taking the technical corners through the finish onto face the climb again and the lap board which read 10laps to go! My legs were beginning to tire as the race went on but all the ‘allez allez’ helped me keep a good rhythm up the climb. I focused on pedalling and moving forward as I became accustom to ‘feeling the burn’. Soon the laps went by and before I knew it I was coming Into the last lap and really used the momentum of confidence to drive me to the line and take my first 1st place of the season. Along with a nice bouquet of flowers to give to Chris’ wife, thanking her for supporting him as he supports women’s cycling, because as they say behind every great man stands a great woman.