Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tour of Romney Marsh

Being a new "Belgian" I thought I'd post about my recent ride in the colours. Well not in the kit, that's yet to arrive.

Four of us entered the Tour of Romney Marsh in the hope for some early winter training. The expectation was 100k in driving rain along exposed featureless muddy country roads, with a couple of short, but very sharp climbs.

However, Sunday dawned, sunny, warm but with a brisk 30kph southwesterly blowing. The terrain remained the same however requiring some team work, and working with other ,to make decent headway into the wind for the first 50k.

We set off and soon formed a comfortable group of 8, taking turns on the front and keeping the pace up at about 30kph. This clawed back most of those in front of us and soon the group had risen to about 15. Unfortunately, the same 8 seemed to be doing the work in the front.

There was only on thing for it! Get in the gutter, put your head down, push a big gear and hope lazy *&^%^$ at the back would drop off. The only problem here was the local farming community had decided it was a good weekend to cut the roadside black and hawthorn. Anyway we went for it, and the plan worked after about 5k, we were back to about 10 in the group with only a couple of wheelsuckers from London Dynamo still hanging on.

The final few k were done at one hell of a pace with the wind behind us and only a brief climb to come! Lympne Hill at 15% was a bit of a shock after the flat marshes! Having struggled up the climb we raced down hill to finish in 3hrs 30mins for the 104k, coming in 21-24.

No photos and no kit yet but hope to recounting some more rides in the coming months, including trips to France to enjoy the pleasures of Normandy in the rain and wind.

Whilst being a Southern softee, my challenge for this winter will be to train for the Hell of the North Cotswolds in April next year. It may sound as hard as hamster wrestling but we do have some tough hills down here, honest! I also might try some North Wales cross series events. My mate came in the series top 10 simply by entering every round last year!


  1. Despite being a confirmed northerner and therefore hill lover, I really enjoyed riding round the Pevensey and Romney marshes this summer whilst on hols. Tough riding when that wind blows and quite hilly too when you get into those old sea cliffs inland. Keep us posted and watch out for those London Dynamo wheelsuckers - I met them in Flanders a few years ago :-)

  2. Nice one Russell. The Hell of The North Cotswolds is fantastic. To get the most out of the event, do it in true Belgian fashion - on a Cross bike (most use a mountain bike).

    It's also a nice prep event for the 3 peaks as it gets you used to riding for a long time offroad on a cross bike (albeit 5 months before the peaks!). Remember to enter very early, this year's event filled in about 48 hours. Entries open in December (I think).

  3. Lympne hill rocks!