Pete and Family are continuing their Holiday Week in Belgium with some epic rides! Have a read of his latest installment as he navigates his Dugasts over the famed cobbles of the Classics...
Happy New Year's Eve!
I've had a couple great rides this week around Oudenaarde, our home base here in Belgium. This somewhat hilly region is known as the Flemish Ardennes, and many of the famous bergs of the Tour of Flanders are within a few k of town, and easy to get to. As is normal for this time of year, it rains so frequently, and the sun is so pitifully weak and short-lived, its a mistake to venture off-road much. But the road riding is so good, that isn't a problem!
There are numerous way-marked routes that take the climbs in the preferred direction, visit the ubiquitous tiny villages, and hit as many cobbles as possible. You don't even need a map, just follow the proper color signposts. Once you get out of Oudenaarde, the roads are small, there are almost no cars, and the riding is super fun. Plus there's the history. I'm a lover of the spring classics and racing history, so it is really cool to pedal up to an unremarkable intersection amongst sleepy farms and see signs that point to the Eikenberg, Koppenberg, or Kwaremont.
These cobbled-classics are crazy. You really have to ride them to appreciate how bumpy and difficult they are. When wet, the stones are slippery and scary, and I don't think they dry out until summer. Some of the climbs like the Koppenberg reach 20%, and are basically unridable on a road bike in wet conditions. Even on a cross bike, I had to walk the steepest part. This makes watching the pros hammer up these beasts in the races that much more impressive.
I've got two races coming this weekend, so stay tuned for more updates!
Pete's Dugasts have returned 'home' to tpuch the sweet and famed cobbles of Koppenberg. NIce zig-zag, Pete.
The precision of the cobbles is amazing. here, the Eikenberg.
Pete cresting the Koppenberg.
Nothing dries in Belgium as witnessed by the moss between the cobbles in Oudenaarde.
Pete in front of their apartment and rental car in Oudenaarde.