Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Cobbles, Cobbles, Cobbles... Tour of Flanders Sportive

Its taken me nearly a week to find the time to sit down and write this blog post...

After the madness of the Flanders weekend I came home to England to the best week of weather I can remember for a long time so every spare minute has been taken up with riding :)

The idea to go and ride the Tour of Flanders sportive had been brewing for a while.. work has an office in Brussels and one of the guys that worked there was a cyclist so the opportunity to organise some inter office training and combine it with a weekend of riding was not to be missed.

This was my first trip to Brussels and it didn't dissapoint ... it wasn't all waffles and frites as I had been lead to believe but the first few hours riding there after work on the thursday before the sportive gave a taste of the cobble and climbs to come.

The weather for the sportive was immense.. 25 plus degrees... 7am start from Bruge saw us roll out with hundreds of riders..

Without giving a blow by blow account of the ride the day was fantastic... for some reason I didn't figure on the long flat cobble sections that would have to be ridden.. make no mistake pro's make it look easy but cobbles are brutal and can only be tackled in the big ring and with best choice of line.. when in a bunch of riders you take the line you are given.

The sportive is race distance at 260km ... but you don't really get into the thick of the cobbled climbs until 170km in when you hit the Pattenberg.. then the Koppenberg... both 20% plus climbs and luckily the extra distance had thinned the field so myself and work colleague Bruno got to ride them .. unfortunately the other guys riding the 150km had to walk them due to traffic.

Rate this as probably one of the best days in a bike i've ever had.. the sun was out.. new bike was flying.. the course was amazing and the company was good.

Huge thanks to Bruno Stuyts, a work colleague, friend and all round good guy who helped out with all logistics even setting up free accommodation for a few nights.. hoping to get back to Belgium soon for more riding.