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I did the last few days the wrong way round. I saw the race and then I previewed the "Flandrien circuit" which is, of course, my former backyard anyway.

It took a little while to reach the area that constituted the “Flandrien circuit” of the Worlds parcours and the stiff wind was not in my favour. I tried to go easy on the small hills before I got there and took a few shortcuts following roads I almost never take whenever I’m over that way.

The first climb I reached was the Smeysberg. The barriers were still standing and, after taking a quick photo, I set off up the ramp and tried to take in all the text and images that had been laid down by fans and perhaps sponsors (some of the art looked way too classy to be the work of a roadside amateur) while I suffered on the climb. There were stylised faces of the top men and women and the names of lots of nations with lists of their selected riders.

I cleared the top of the climb and marvelled at the beautiful new asphalt which the locals would now enjoy for years to come. I passed the skeleton of the big marquee which had been my base the other day. It was hard now to pinpoint the swimlane in which our party had stood. Indeed there was no trace of fancy décor left, one could have sheltered and milked cattle under the empty structure.

Descending the Holstheide in the same direction as the race had but in the opposite direction to the one taken by the Brabantse Pijl, I quickly found myself in Terlanen and started on the Moskesstraat. I think it was the first time I’d ridden this one since the Primus Classic sportive in 2015. I was always a bit scared of the greasy cobbles back then but now I saw confirmation during my moments of pain that the entire road had been restored last year and a certain kind of mortar held them in place. It was a far cry from their erstwhile state when the rainwater used to torrent freely down the climb and expose all the stones. Nevertheless the same tactic was required now as then: keep turning the gear and keep the front wheel down. Having watched Demi Vollering with chain problems here during Saturday’s TV coverage I thought it wise to hit the worst slopes already in my lowest gear (23t) even if it meant spinning a bit at first.

I had intended to start for home after the Moskes but after surviving that I wanted to keep going for a bit and I descended instead to Overijse where I used to live and tackled the famous S-Bocht and Taymansstraat, a nice little climb that I have to admit I never knew existed until the Worlds presented it to me. Short and sweet they were and now I should be getting back for afternoon meetings.

However Taymansstraat came out on the road to Eizer and it occurred to me now that I couldn’t come all this way and not tackle the last climb in the “Flandrien circuit” when I was about to ride right past the bottom of it.

I had always thought of the Bekestraat as the worst of all the climbs in this area. The cobbles were always in a dreadful state and the deep cut of the road offered no gutters in which to put the wheels and escape some of the rattle. Sure enough though, after leaving behind the gorgeous fat rainbow stripes that someone had painted at the entrance to them, I remembered that these stones too had been recently restored. Unlike the Moskes I had already been here since the big roadworks but even with a rougher surface to improve grip and the extra mortar to hold everything together the cobbles seemed to stand out higher and it was no picnic at all.

It’s easy to feel nostalgic about this area and now I have another, more universal reason for it. This is my corner of Flanders (a really tiny one when I think about it) and I’m proud to have seen the World Championships race so magically through it. Even after the barriers have been taken away, the flags have come down and the names and faces have at last faded from the asphalt, I’ll still have the memories and that little, slightly childish satisfaction that I was here first!


Race day:


Didn't really take any pics on the day. Was too busy watching.

Ride today:

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  • « Last Edit: September 28, 2021, 17:19 by L'arri »
    Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
    RIP Craig1985 / Craig Walsh
    RIP KeithJamesMc / Keith McMahon / Larry Sarni


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