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ronde van vlaanderen cyclo
Last Post 04/11/2016 01:20 PM by Orange Crush. 6 Replies.
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Orange Crush

Posts:2015

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04/08/2016 06:42 PM
227kms, 15 rated climbs, 10 or so cobbled. 4 months of preparation. 16,000 riders, 7,000 Belgians the rest from about 56 countries total and about 5,000 doing the full distance. Too many Brits.

After all that prep we were off to a disastrous start. The official start was 7 am in Brugge. But at that time we were still in Gent. The coaches that were supposed to get us to start had arrived late after long journey and there's a strict enforced 9hr period over which they're not allowed to move. Which meant we got to start 8:35. By that time there were only a handful of stragglers around. Time to hit pursuit. I quickly caught another guy that was going relatively fast and after 10 or so kms we caught another, forming a well working trio, me and two Belgians.

In retrospect the late start may have been a blessing. The pros have it relatively easy the first 100k riding over the rough Belgian concrete highways. We were forced over the exceedingly narrow and cut up bike paths next to the road which often ended up in just grass and overall made for some pretty nervous riding. Better in a small group than among thousands. Anyway our trio was making good headway, we caught a Belgian cycling club and then another and suddenly were were a couple dozen making for easy riding into the cold headwind that was blowing that day (the pros next day would have beautiful weather and I was sweating just watching them on the Kwaremont).

By the second stop we had clearly reached the main field with number of cyclists in the hundreds. After that the hills of Oost Vlaanderen started. The hills are easy enough, most of them are pitchy but short. Even the cobble hills are pretty easy, just a matter of momentum. The hardest were the several km long flat cobble sections (making me $4it my pants for Roubaix) and worse than that the cobbled downhills. Unreal bouncing on those. Over the ride, my tire hit rim at least a dozen times and each time your brain goes "no flat no flat". I was lucky. The amount of dropped water bottles on cobbled sections was unreal.

Another hard part of the cobbles is passing. The slow poke in front of you will invariably have taken up the "good" cobbles and to pass you have to use the more gnarly once to left or right. Quick around and then back on good section. Had to walk once, on the Koppenberg (steepest one of bunch) were a massive debike happened in front of us...no way through. On that one the right side was unbikable and unwalable due to a grey wet slick mud. The back end of pro peleton walked there too next day. The other steep one, Patersberg, and final hill was relatively easy by comparison. After that just the long flat section to Arensberg to pick up the 100% Flandrien T-shirt.

Overall a very memorable ride. Recommended.

Waiting for coach in Gent [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2952_zpskg1wyyua.jpg.html][/URL] Nearly deserted start [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2955_zpspmc8rpvm.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2958_zpspqrep35s.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2965_zpsw4amn2ni.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2969_zpsw8zwzjlx.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2971_zpsllaixsdi.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2973_zpsgfwauull.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2974_zps5y8iwe1y.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2977_zpspeu0orlw.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/SAM_2979_zpsl7p8gcu0.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/sportograf-74606597_lowres%202_zpsti71zkvp.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/Jos_Beckers/media/sportograf-74508318_lowres%202_zpss8yne8j6.jpg.html][/URL]
SideBySide

Posts:428

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04/08/2016 07:15 PM
Awesome.

Funny, when I read you mention that the coach was late in a previous post, I thought of a person, not a motorcoach.
Orange Crush

Posts:2015

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04/08/2016 07:42 PM
Posted By SideBy Side on 04/08/2016 07:15 PM
Funny, when I read you mention that the coach was late in a previous post, I thought of a person, not a motorcoach.


That's what I mean by bloody Brits.
longslowdistance

Posts:1499

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04/09/2016 03:42 PM
Still got that Hawaii tan :-)
Orange Crush

Posts:2015

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04/10/2016 08:12 AM
I had that tan before Maui, skiing and just generally chiselled skin from a lot of winter riding :-)
ChinookPass

Posts:809

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04/11/2016 12:05 PM
Nice pics OC! Did you bump into any HR folks on the Vlaanderen ride? What bike did you use and where did you rent from?
Orange Crush

Posts:2015

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04/11/2016 01:20 PM
I am sure there must have been some HR folks in that crowd but no didn't bump into any.

I had a Trek 5.2 Ultegra. Rented from some Dutch outfit, name escapes me but they complimented me on retaining my Dutch after all these years over here :-)
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