Frosty Flanders

Hard earnedOne short cycling trip that’s becoming sort of a tradition, is my “Tour of Flanders”.

For the third year in a row, I cycled around the city of Oudenaarde, location of the Center for the Tour of Flanders.

As Paula is participating in the Belgian Open (Mahjong Tournament), these trips are “solo” and since my first attempt on the road bike,

I now ride them on my 29er.

I’ve learned the hard way that during the type of weather that is common this early in the year, the cobblestones – and especially during uphill sections – require a skill I have yet to master.

While not impossible, it’s a lot harder to crash on these when on bike with fat profile tires and suspension.

The additional weight, some 10 kilograms, obviously matter during uphills, but I’ll take that over painfully crashing any day…

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Flanders Revisited

View from the Muur

Exactly one year after I participated in the “Peter van Petegem Classic“, I revisited the Flemish Ardennes, for another episode of the Tour of Flanders.

Like last year March, Paula was going to participate in the Belgian Mahjong Open and I was going to cycle a bit – because the weather was not that great then, I was happy that the event was scheduled a bit later in the year…

But because I wasn’t sure about the weather and (mainly) because I am not fond of riding cobbles on my race bike, I took the Bulls with me this time. In the end, the weather was just fine: a bit chilly, lots of wind, but it didn’t rain. Even most of the gutters next to the cobblestone roads – frequently used when climbing – were more or less dried up…

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Flanders Blue(s)

This past weekend, we went to Temse for the Belgian Open (Mahjong, MCR rules) – Paula was playing, I was planning on riding my own “Tour of Flanders”, because the Flemish Ardennes are just around the corner.

It had been a long time since I cycled there. The area has many Pro Tour races and most of them are famous for their vicious cobblestone roads and climbs.

In general, the roads are treacherous in the area and many of the pro riders have scars to prove that.

I visited the Center for the Tour of Flanders in Oudenaarde during last year’s trip to Temse and we planned a cycling trip for May then, but I decided to take a leisure week in the hospital instead…

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