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.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Belgian road trip

It was only a question of 'when' rather than 'if' I would return to Flanders after a maiden trip 4 years ago. A post Classics slot in mine and Mark Turner's schedule saw us booked in at The Chainstay, a kind of cycling youth hostel/b and b/training facility in Oudenaarde, with 3 solid days of riding planned.

It would have been rude not to have gone there via some Roubaix cobbles, so I scoped out a short ride post ferry landing to sample 4 out of the final 6 sectors of Paris-Roubaix pave, including Carrefour de L'Arbre. It was as expected - brutal, uncompromising and an incredible insight into the ridiculous physical demands of the race. Though the prototype Planet X Titanium disc cross bike I had taken over was armchair comfy at the rear, nothing can shield your hands from the battering up front. Truly excrutiating.

A quick hop to Flanders over lunch, and we had a guided tour of classic Flandrian pave, in torrential rain, courtesy of our ex-pro host Gregg from The Chainstay. Character building.

Our further 2 days consisted of ambling rides round the heart and edges of the Flemish Ardennes hills - ticking off almost all of the iconic bergs and kasseien the area has to offer, soaking up the tranquility and beauty in this wonderful region.

Until the next trip..........

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