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    Tales from the Woods
    12-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Raid des Sources - Chimay
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Rise and shine at 7am. The sun was out and half an hour later I was on my way to Chimay. This is a 1h30 car ride from Leuven. When I neared Couvin the hills were covered in mist. Still, no worries, I was about to embark on a marathon mountainbike raid over 100k so I was not exactly screaming for heat. Only dry weather would suffice because the extra warmth only adds to the exhaustion..


    The Ride:

    Around 9.30 I was at the inscription where I forked over 12€ and got my number and a little card attached to a lanyard. This card was to be used for punching in the control markers at the feed zones along the ride. There were 5 feed zones evenly spaced out on this distance. Great, so let's go!
    I had a possible riding time of 6 hours in mind when I started out, but things would evolve. Read on.
    The first kilometers were relatively easy, the track was reasonably dry - small wonder after last thursdays' downpour, so I could settle myself into a nice and comfy pace. We were going through some fields and  the sun had dried out the trails here . After a while, I was remeniscing my last outing here  some 5 years ago ,  when all of a sudden the first uphill appeared. Steep and wet in an overgrown hollow road and I was too late to drop my chain on the small ring. So I had to grin and bear it. I made that hill but I would not forget to drop my chain the next time. At the top of the second big climb there was a photographer – I think it was Denis Hardy, the organiser -  taking some pictures. 
    I quickly shifted onto the middle ring - looks better on the pics - and tried to look calm and collected.
    After crossing the N99 , road that connects Couvin to Chimay, the “real”  Raid des Sources was about to begin. We were entering the forests now and the height lines started oscillating between 200 and 350 meters. Things were getting serious quite quickly !
    After 13.5k we had a first feed zone and after 25k the second. This was also the place were the 100k split off from the 65k  distance. We were at the rivers’ edge here, so instinctively I knew a big climb was following . From here on I would ride relatively alone. Having started late and with most chrono riders going for  the 65K distance, this is one of the great advantages of doing the longest distance.  The extra loop started with a 27% climb on tarmac (thank God!) out of a village and slowly but surely I creeped into the forests again . At one point I was riding next to a big lake – barrage du Ry de Rome  - at 270 metres of altitude. After that, a small trail took me up to the plateau at 330 metres through some damp forest which reminded me of the Vosges. At the plateau the track was following a singletrail for several kilometers on end , green and lush landscapes galore.
    I had to look constantly for the best passage, since we were crossing mud-holes and little tricklets all the time. There was a fair amount of water and mud here, but due to only 75 people riding the 100K, the trail was not beaten to a pulp and fairly easy ride-able.


    Far from easy were the descents, some rather rechnical with wet rocks and roots thus demanding the utmost concentration not to let the speed get up too high. I managed them all very well but I screamed a few times because I thought I lost it. Luckily my bike got me through . The uphills were typical of the Chimay region, steep - usually around 20% - and due to the wet floor pretty difficult to ride.  My wheel was slipping all over the place with the sticky mud filling up the gaps between the knobs on the tyres and sometimes I just made the hill, sometimes I didn't and had to walk a few meters. About halfway through this 40k loop we encountered our 3rd feed zone and control point.
    I was passed at one point by the eventual winner - Wouter Cleppe - and I was amazed at his speed and seemingly ease with which he was tackling a mean uphill. He rode the 100K in 4h29mins, which is quite  amazing.
    After an amazingly beautiful – but very tough – loop we were back at the barrage where we had about 1.5K of tarmac to relax our muscles a bit. After that, an impossible climb had me walking up a crest and I was back in the rough following some forest trail again meandering through the trees.
    With some 65k I was  at the 4th feedzone (which was actually the 2nd - I had now completed my extra 40k loop) and I took my time eating and drinking. At this point the mental thing comes in. You realize that you would already have finished had you not chosen the longest distance. With still an average TT distance to go you have to keep your mind firmly on the right track. Furthermore the fatigue was making itself feel and the tracks were now worse due to the many riders having ridden over them. After that 4th feedzone there was a long climb taking us all the way up again. It was very steep at places and along the way I was passed by an enduro motorcycle of the organisation. I had seen him at the rest stop and he replied to my gentle wave with a ‘Bonne Chance’ while he poured on the horsepower and rocketed upwards.. Yeah, I would need some good luck  for sure! I was thinking how nice it would be if we could swap our bikes for a while but quickly let go of that tought when a mean downhill was announcing itself.
    The relentless succesion of climbs and technical descents were effectively sapping the strenght out of my legs. I saw some riders standing next to the road, they were waiting for the organisation to pick them up – wasted and dead- tired and probably having seriously underestimated the difficulty of 100K in this area. 

    Around 81K into the ride I came to the last feed zone.  I had teamed up with a team-mate of Wouter Cleppe and we more or less rode together for a few kilometers. The track wasn’t wide enough to ride next to each other but we managed to talk a bit along the way. The trail was now very muddy. Tough conditions due to the fact that all the distances had passed over this trail, effectively munching it into a brown splashy pulp. A few sections were really really bad, and I had to jump around from dry side to dry side to keep my feet out of the muck - the gullies were too deep to ride . Luckily we were sent onto some bigger forest tracks as well, so we could recuperate a bit between muddy patches.. This nearly was ‘Trop is teveel’ – too much of a good thing.  Some 10K before the finish we came back onto field roads and the trails were dry now. I was feeling elated and actually found some hidden strength and started accelerating , enjoying the small tracks between the barbed wires. The last couple of K’s were on tarmac, having me zoom along at 30kph. After 6h36 of riding time and 6h57 actual time I was clocked off at the finish. Taking some pictures along the way and splashing out at the feed zones takes some time of course.

    Got a nice finisher T-shirt and a one-litre bottle of Chimay. Rinsed my bike and got a shower before heading home again. It was 6.30pm when I arrived – tired but satisfied after a very long day.

    The Lowdown:

    What I liked :

    -         Arrowing was flawless, both red paint markings on the floor/tarmac  as arrows yellow/black  panels.

    -         Plenty of feed zones , evenly spaced along the distance.

    -         Feed zones were well stocked with food and drink and friendly people.

    -         Great trails !

    -         Bike-wash was sufficient at 4.30pm.

    -         Shower facilities first-class.

    -         Danger signs at the really tricky descents and at the road crossings.

    -         Nice to get a t-shirt and a one-litre bottle of Chimay beer.



    What I did not like:

    -         Bike-wash might have been busy before 4.30pm with only 3 jets.

    -         Damn mud !

    -         Dangerous passage in Chimay village at the end of the ride.

    Synopsis:

    Clearly a very professional and well-honed organiser and team, with the 15th edition this year they clearly know their fantastic – but unfortunately  slightly underestimated -  region and make the best of it, lacing together a 100k trail is no mean feat. Trails are tough and singularly beautiful , a combination most mountainbikers will appreciate. Succession of sometimes very steep climbs and sometimes rather technical descents and kilometers of singletrack , 80% through forest  – must be mountainbiker heaven. I did ask the organisers to consider moving their ride back to the 15th of August though, as it has been for all these years. That date has become a landmark in the calender so why change it?

    The area of Chimay – Viroinval – Eau Blanche and Eau Noire -  is a bit underestimated I feel and not well known to the mountainbikers in Belgium. The valleys are not as deep as in some parts of the Ardennes but the region is well compared to Houffalize . It offers a lot of trails – I saw several marked routes along the way – and as I already said, the hills are steep  - to be compared with La Roche perhaps  -  and offer between 100 to 150 meters of vertical ascent in one go. But what really makes this area shine is the amount of singletrails – credit has to go to Denis Hardy and his team for lacing them all together – some next to the rivers , meandering up and down with lots of roots and rocks making them very technical at times. I particularly remember a trail near Bruly-sur-Pesche where I had to walk quite a few times due to the technicality of the track. Of course the rain had made it a lot wetter than it usually is.  The only drawback this region has is that is not along any of the major highways in Belgium, which means that getting there by car is not evident.


    Some pictures..

       


    The Bare Facts :

    Ride Stats : 100K and 1650 heightmeters in 6h36mins
    Hill Factor : 16.5
    Mud factor : high

    Organisers' Website : CLICK

    Ride Profile : CLICK

    Results of the 100k Marathon :

      

    Video Footage from the ride: CLICK (copyright Cédric)

    Google Earth Map of the 100k marathon :



    7152/66420



    12-08-2007, 00:00 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    11-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Choices
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Today I got on my bike to do an easy ride. The sun was out and it was quite warm on the roads. Offroad I could see there were a lot of deep puddles, but the sun was already drying things out fast. Tomorrow the forecast calls for sun as well, which makes riding through the mud a bit more bare-able. I passed by Filip Sport to get me some Windose gels to fuel my muscles during tomorrows' ride. I tried these out during last saturdays ride in Theux and they got me through with flying colors. Lets hope they will do the same tomorrow.

    Went to Verviers this morning. I picked up my inscription package and got some goodies as well : a nice Rolini T-Shirt, a Q8 petrol IOU cheque for 5€ and a set of mountainbike gloves. So that nearly constitutes the 20€ inscription fee. Still I will not ride here tomorrow. To make a long story short, I had already pre-inscribed for the Verviers 45K race when I found out that Chimay had moved their Raid des Sources from August 15th to August 12th. This ride had been on August 15th for as long as I can remember so I was quite chocked to find out I got a luxury problem on August 12th.
    Furthermore Chimay sports a new distance of 100K which I would like to try, having done the "classic" 65K over there 2 times already. My choice was further influenced by the amount of rain Verviers got last thursday compared to what the Chimay region had to endure. Verviers got TWICE as much. Another factor is that I don't get the opportunity to ride in the Chimay region that much. While I will probably be in the Theux region again next week.
    Of course the Verviers race is only 45K and 1400 heightmeters as compared to the 100K and 1800 heightmeters Chimay offering but I don't mind the extra mileage, on the contrary. I felt from the beginning that Verviers should have offered a medium distance (say 60 to 70K) as well as the short and long distances . Verviers is more technical, hence a lot more dangerous in these wet condition. The reports from people who rode part of the Verviers trail today were talking about slippery and outright dangerous conditions. Lots of rocks and they were wet and slippery. Now from experience I know that Chimay also has a fair share of roots and stuff and they will be wet as well.
    For Chimay I do have to ride my car for 3 hours as opposed to the 2-hour return trip to Verviers.
    It's always sad that you have to make a choice like this - I wish that they would have kept the Chimay ride on the 15th - but thats the way it is and I had to deal with it. The money issue (I "lose" 20€ ) doesn't bother me that much, it's not a deciding factor for me. Tomorrow I will have to pay another 12€, and this will probably get me another T-shirt and selected Chimay beers (which I don't drink - any takers?) , as well as 5 feed zones.



    Ride Stats : 52K and 330 heightmeters in 2h10mins

    7053/64770

    11-08-2007, 17:40 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    10-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Jerk
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Another easy ride planned. I set out to follow some new markings passing in front of my door but I lost them pretty soon. I later discovered them back in Sint Joris Weert and there was a 40k/90k just before exiting that town. Must look into that further when I plan to do a longer ride. Had a close encounter with a car - small delivery truck actually -  whose driver forgot I had right of way and the jerk would have bumped me off the road if I didn't pull myself out of its path. Some guys are really asking for it. I hope he gets it soon , and I really hope it hurts!

    I am changing my plans for the weekend. I will not ride the 45K in Verviers, instead I will do the Raid des Sources in Chimay . It's been a while - I think it must have been 2002 - since I had the opportunity to ride it and this year they added a 100K distance. This promises some 1800 heightmeters which would suit me fine.
    I will go to Verviers tomorrow instead and try to shoot some pictures while looking around in the expo area. That way I can go and pick up my entrance package and T-shirt as well or maybe get a refund. I will have ample opportunities to ride in that area later this year. The fact that it rained all day yesterday - making the parcours outright dangerous -  also was very influential in my decision to change my plans

    Ride Stats: 36K and 230 heightmeters in 1h31mins

    7001/64440

    10-08-2007, 18:13 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    08-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Favorite
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    An easy road ride on the menu today. Legs still felt great though so my average was good. It rained a bit during the day but near the evening things dried out miraculously so that at least the roads were dry. Lets hope it doesn't rain too much tomorrow in the Ardennes because this friday I plan to pre-ride the 45K distance of the Mountainbike Marathon World Championships in Verviers . That way I can keep my options open for next sunday.

    The girl? Oh , she is my hot favorite for the World Championships. Click on the pic to find out who she is.

    Ride Stats: 30k and 215 heightmeters in 1h14mins

    6964.5/64210

    08-08-2007, 20:22 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    07-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Symbiosis
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    About time I did part 2 of my Secret Meerdael Loop. This is the though part, with a lot of short steep climbs and descents, some very twisty and root-ridden. It had rained a little bit yesterday but I was not surprised to find the tracks almost completely dry. I had a great ride. My legs felt strong - so strong I could take all the climbs on the middle ring. Even the difficult and technical ones. I had this great sensation when riding my bike today. It felt like an extension of my body, I just had to point it where I wanted to go and we went that way, be it up or down. It's amazing what a ride in the Theux region does for your technical prowess and confidence. I made even the trickiest downhills today, some where I had struggled in winter to stay upright I just rode down, scantly looking where I wanted to go. Just squeeze the brakes from time to time and let my bike go where I wanted it to go. It's a great feeling. Some of the tracks where quite overgrown but as usual I wore long sleeves . I disturbed a lot of cobwebs and had to brush some spiders out of my face but I took my time to do so, spider bites are not something I'm particularly fond of, especially not the ones in this forest. But I was lucky and suffered no troubles. Temps were OK and the sun hid behind some clouds from time to time making it pleasant conditions to bike in.

    Ride Stats : 38K and 670 heightmeters in 2h28mins

    6934/63995


    07-08-2007, 19:44 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    05-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Holy hotness
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Today really is one of those typical high-summer days. Very hot with clear azure skies and a warm breeze gently blowing from the south. The air smells of the freshly mown wheat crops and is buzzing with butterflies and a million other insects. I decided to bike anyway because I wanted to relax my muscles after yesterdays' tough ride. I did a road ride looping over Lubbeek, Binkom and Boutersem along quiet backroads. I averaged 29 degrees C on my Polar and I must say I was glad to be in around 1pm when the midday heat began to set in.

    Ride Stats : 48K and 295 heightmeters in 2h20mins

    6897/63325

    05-08-2007, 14:12 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    04-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Ride the Red
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    It was 7.46 am when I turned my car onto route 666 leading towards Banneux and its Catholic Pilgrimage . It struck me that 666 was the last number I would expect in an area like this but I guess someone at the Roads' Department must have had a weird sense of humour. Took me some time to find a suitable parking spot not far from the N62 where I could get on the Red Theux route. This route - which I already did before - has the reputation of being one of the toughest in Belgium. I wanted to start real early to beat the heat. The sun was already making it's way up and the morning dew was evaporating quickly when her rays touched the wet grass. I started in Banneux because I wanted to have the toughest bit of the Red route in the beginning of my loop. The great singletrack descent towards the Forges Thiry was sadly not completely ride-able. At least at 4 spots some big tree had fallen over the trail, which meant descending from the bike and getting started again afterwards.

    At the bottom of the descent I spotted the signage for next Sunday's UCI  Marathon World Championships , which are held at Verviers.  They are descending the Forges through an alternative path I believe.

    After crossing the busy N690 I could start on one of the many steep and tricky climbs the Red Theux is famous for. The Championship  track follows the Red trail for a while until they enter some private property and I had to take a right turn. After a while of going up and down, mostly through forests but also some little stretches of tarmac and lastly descending into Theux itself I was on the very steep climb which follows the Rue de Chawieumont out of Theux and up to the road leading towards the Franchimont castle. This is where the route I was on officially starts. At one point I had to walk because I was not prepared to push that hard in the beginning of the ride. When the steepest - middle - bit was over I got on my bike again. There was a family - Man, Woman, Child - taking a rest at the top of that climb and they knew exactly what I meant when I passed my hand across my throat. We shared a laugh and I was back on my way.
    This is a real killer climb, especially since it is near the end of the route and it wrings the last ounces of power out of your legs. But smart as I am, I had this one near the beginning - relatively speaking since I was some 20K into my ride.
    When riding towards Sassor I spotted a few bikers before me who were also doing the Red. They just left and were relatively fresh. I missed a turn near Au Fays - I always seem to miss this one - so when I got to the E42 I was in front of them. I stopped for a little snack and they passed me going down into the Thier de Polleur, a very nasty descent. In the next uphill, leading into the lower regions of the Bois de Staneu I passed them. They seemed to be already tired or were maintaining a slow pace. They confirmed me they were doing the Red route and I wondered if they would make it judging by the speed they were going it would take them a while to say the least. But then, each has his or her own pace. Mine was faster than theirs so I continued dropping out of the Staneu Forest onto the road from Polleur to Theux.
    After a while I disappeared into the forest again for a steep climb towards the route du Pré des Lis. Down towards the railway track and then a little tarmac passage leading over the busy Spa road and to another rocky ascent parallel to the route de Becco . This was the first ascent which had me shift onto the small ring in front. It would not be the last. The trail then climbs more or less all the way through Hestromont, with a lovely little track leading into a green valley. But beware - the track is rock-strewn and partly overgrown with grass so it is quite dangerous if you misjudge your speed here !

    Up towards the "Maquisard Inconnu" monument it now goes, via a large gravel road which leads through le Gros Thier , a nice forest. The height is creeping towards the 350 metres mark as I stop for a little break near the monument. When I leave I notice a strange sound coming from my front wheel and lo and behold, a big thorn has found its way into my tyre. Another break coming up !
    I took my time fixing the tyre - must let that adhesive vulcanize - and after a while I could continue towards Banoyard , the 400 metre mark ánd the top of the Ninglinspo valley, a valley which I refer to as Dreamland . I remembered exactly which track to take from the last time I was here . Some 100 metres down I enjoyed the view from the Point de Vue Drouet, this time in full summer and the greens were even more lush. Deep down in the valley I could hear children laugh and yell. Which reminded me that I had to take care, there would be a lot of hikers and families on this saturday, enjoying the marvelous surroundings of the little Chaudiere and Ninglinspo rivers.

    I took another little snack at the Point de Vue and got back on my bike for the descent which would drop me some 250 metres towards Sedoz. There - after shortly following the busy N633-  I turn to the right and follow the track nr 38 all the way back up again. This is really a climb which any mountainbiker should do. Alternatively over rocks, crossing the little river and just plain steep it winds its way up for about 3-4K and 250 heightmeters. As I expected , I passed a lot of hikers, some of which were cheering me on as I passed them. On top I joined the Red route again which was now staying on the plateau for a while - I did NOT complain and enjoyed putting the big ring on for a change - and then dropped into Jehoster for a technical downhill over rocks and loose stuff which was relatively dry. The rest of the route was muddy at places but a few really deep puddles notwithstanding all was easily ride-able. A long steep climb towards Ménobu and I began to feel the exhaustion by now. I spotted a biker in front of me but then lost him again. When I came out of the Bois Renard - with a great downhill - he was behind me again - a guy in the Discovery shirt riding a Trek. I let him pass and he took a turn off the Red route - so he obviously was not following the same track as I did.

    I was almost back in Banneux now and only had to conquer one last muddy passage in a dense forest before joining the N606 which lead me towards the N62 again and into Banneux. My Mazda MPS was still where it was supposed to be and I just put the bike in and drove home. It was almost 2pm by now and the sun was at full blast. Apart from the flat tyre I had no major technical worries and even though I felt tired I was not spent. Already planning another ride here soon.

    Ride Stats : 70K and 1565 heightmeters in 4h55mins
    Hill Factor : 22.3


    6849/63030

    04-08-2007, 18:29 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    02-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Blue Orange Red Orange Blue
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    It had rained quite a lot early in the morning up to midday , or so I was told . After a few kilometers offroad I was inclined to believe that. It was not too bad but the going wasn't easy either. I planned to set out on the Blue Meerdael Bloso and in Sint Joris Weert take the Orange arrows that would lead me to Sint Agatha Rode where I wanted to do the Red Overijse BLOSO. This is the toughest one, only 13K but with some nasty climbs and 2 great descents. One with steps and some roots which were wet enough to keep me well focussed, the other one a long hollow road with some puddles that made me have to clean my bike afterwards. I felt good today and concentrated on keeping a high pace after an easy warmup along the first few K's of the Blue Meerdael route, riding towards the Zoete Waters where the route officially starts. On the first climbs I really put the hammer down and was pleased with the result. The 4K of tarmac interconnection between the two Bloso routes I used to keep a good speed and once on the Red Overijse Bloso I really went fast. After the 13K / 200 heightmeters of the Red Overijse I took the Orange interconnection back to Sint Joris Weert where I got back on the Blue Meerdael loop. This is the hilliest of the Meerdael loops and I got onto the tarmac climb along the Polderstraat which is followed by an offroad downhill through a hollow forest road towards the Kluis. Here I had to look out because there where a lot of scouts having the time of their life, doing the things scouts do.
    Next came a nasty and steep climb into a beautiful valley up to the Nethen ridge. The forest was quite wet here and the downhill towards Nethen and the Savenel estate was quite tricky.



    A long climb in the hollow road next to the Savenel estate wall brought me into the last few K's of the Blue route. Another sticky section. I was almost continually riding on the big ring and it was tough to keep the speed up. But I had a very good workout and must say I am very pleased with my fitness level. I hope to be able to go to Theux this weekend and score some real heightmeters.


    Ride Stats : 43k and 470 heightmeters in 2h8mins

    6779/61465

    02-08-2007, 20:47 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    01-08-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Easy does it
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Just an hour or so worth of recovery , it was quite warm this evening and I didn't feel like riding very much further. The legs felt a bit tired too. Hope to go offroad for the remainder of the week. The forecast is for dry weather, perhaps tomorrow some thunderstorms but mostly in the East of the country.

    Ride Stats : 30K and 200 heightmeters in 1h18mins

    6737/60995

    01-08-2007, 20:31 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Use your head - Wear a Helmet
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen

    Going biking? Use your head

    By Robert Howard
    The Hamilton Spectator
    (Sep 8, 2006)

    Sure, helmets aren't cool to teenagers. But neither is spending your life as a quadriplegic -- or ending it on the hood of a car.
    The human body is a marvellous and resilient thing, but the skull and thin membranes that protect our brain are little protection from concrete, asphalt or automotive steel. It doesn't matter, in the end, if a bicyclist or a driver had the right of way. If there's a collision, it's a pretty sure bet who's going to walk away and who is not.
    The unpalatable truth is that two area boys would likely be alive today, and another might have escaped serious injury requiring hospitalization, if they had been wearing helmets while riding their bicycles. Those tragedies are just recent examples of a continuing safety issue.
    Recent accidents -- and behaviour seen every day on city streets -- show many youngsters are disregarding the provincial bicycle-helmet law, which requires cyclists under 18 to wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding a bike on a roadway or sidewalk anywhere in Ontario.
    That law has saved lives -- and saved others from lives of drastically reduced quality or mobility. Wearing a helmet while cycling reduces head injuries by as much as 85 per cent. Riders not wearing helmets make up 90 per cent of fatalities in bicycle accidents.
    But the fact is that children and young teens do not appreciate risk or consider consequences the same way as adults. The accident is never, in their mind, going to happen to them. Parents need to insist on helmets.
    It would seem a worthwhile investment of resources -- and could save lives -- if Hamilton police were to mount a new, proactive education/enforcement campaign. Some kind of tiered approach of warnings, parental contact, then penalties would be appropriate. (The law sets fines for parents who knowingly allow their children under 16 to ride without a bicycle helmet, while cyclists who are 16 or 17 can be fined directly.)
    But helmets are not the only safety issue among the burgeoning bicycle population. Some irresponsible bicyclists give the majority a bad name (and motorists near heart failure) by disregarding common sense and traffic law. Too many cyclists breeze through stop signs and edge through stop lights, expecting drivers to see and yield. They want it both ways: drivers to respect their right to be on the road while they disrespect traffic law.
    And here's a fact: A rider in fashionable black on an unlit bicycle after dusk is virtually invisible to drivers, even if there are street lights. A bicycle is required to have lights and reflectors after dark, (and a bell or horn).
    The use-your-head safety rules may not seem cool but they save lives: Wear light colours, have working lights and reflectors, obey traffic laws.

    Of course, there's no sense using your head if you don't protect it. Wear a helmet -- and insist that your loved ones do, too.


    LINK to Original Article

    Helmets.Org

    01-08-2007, 18:18 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    31-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Do The Skinny
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    I mounted my Ritchey Tom Slicks on my Hilset because I wanted to see how they performed on this bike. Since I have to put at least 3.5 bar in them to keep them from snakebiting on ridges, I was not expecting too much comfort. From the first meter you can feel the difference in rolling resistance, the Tom Slicks roll like .. well they roll very slick. This makes it easy to maintain the speed. Since the wheels' diameter is considerably less you also accelerate a lot quicker but it is not as easy to maintain the speed . I had to split my workout in two parts since I had to be home for the cats' insuline injection at 6pm. But I managed to squeeze in a good 35K in just over 1h24mins, give the injection and jump on my bike again for another 12K . The weather was great, around 22 degrees C and no wind to speak off. The ride was harsher than with the big 2.1 tyres but it was quite manageable.



    The bike looks a bit weird I suppose but what the hell, the skinny tyres perform well and it doesn't look any weirder than a roadbike does. Of course I dare not ride offroad with these tyres, even the occasional cobbles are a bit of a shake although the frame absorbs a lot. And it weighs around 8.5kg in this configuration which is a lot of fun on the uphills.

    Ride Stats: 47K and 285 heightmeters in 1h52mins

    6707/60795

    31-07-2007, 19:49 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    29-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Haasrode Tour
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen Another ride late in the afternoon. Set out to do part of the Haasrode tour but ended up doing the complete loop. Pace was moderate and I started to feel the kilometers I have been doing this week but I managed to bite the bullet and complete te full loop. No more troubles with the cranks which was fine to notice. It had been raining this morning but now the weather was dry even though there was some noticeable wind blowing and it was only 16 degrees C. But since I'm wearing long sleeves and pants I hardly notice the cold.

    Ride Stats : 69K and 535 heightmeters in 3h2mins

    6660/60510

    29-07-2007, 21:52 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    28-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.J.I.T.
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Waited until the Tour de France TT to start. A real thriller that was with the 3 pretendents for the overall finishing within 30 seconds of each other.
    Me I wanted to do the 65K Maleizen tour, which I pick up on at Archennes. It goes over Grez-Doiceau, Chaumont Gistoux, Mont Saint Guibert and Corbais and then towards Ottignies, Wavre, Terlanen and Maleizen. From Maleizen it loops over Ottenburg back to Archennes. Quite hilly it is too and I picked up a few extra hills along the way. Had something weird happening to my crank. I had been noticing yesterday that my front derailler seemed to have moved outwards but after adjusting it, I noticed again it was moving outwards during the ride today, causing it to rub against the middle ring.
    Looking more closely I noticed that the gap between my crankarms and my frame had changed. In essence, it looks like my bottom bracket axis has moved to the left, thus bringing the chainrings closer to the frame. I gave it a gentle tap with a hammer and that made it move back to the center. Weird stuff, but the Tune titanium axle is only suspended in two bearings so it makes sense that it can move a bit.

    It's on long road rides like these that I think I might just get me a road bike. But taking into account my taste for titanium I fear this might cost me around 7 to 8000 Euros. I have been eyeballing a custom Seven Aerios for a while now and maybe I should just go ahead and get it made.
    Not that the Hilset is bad but on these long rides I feel a real roadbike might give me the edge, just being more suited for the job. I can mount 1" tyres on the Hilset but that still does not give it the same impetus as a real roadbike would.

    I was home Just In Time before darkness fell. I left at 6pm and indeed around 9.45 things are getting pretty dark already. Had a good ride though and  I'm quite pleased with the amount of heightmeters too.

    Ride Stats : 87K and 775 heightmeters in 3h47mins

    6591/59975

    28-07-2007, 00:00 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    27-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Meerdael Forest to Sonian Forest and back
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Lots of wind today, which made me decide to further recce the Vlaanderen Fietsroute in the direction of Brussels. From the Meerdael Forest the route loops towards Leefdaal and then drops towards the Yse river. The route then follows this meandering river along its left bank all the way to Overijse. A very nice hardpack singletrack, just wide enough for two bikes to cross each other. From Overijse it went to Hoeilaart and next to Groenendaal Station. A bit further just alongside the Forest Museum I entered the Sonian Forest. The wind had been blowing in my face all the time - a little less in the Yse valley but still perceptible enough - and I was glad to be in the forest where things were quiet . Riding along the majestic rows of tall beech trees whose leaves were filtering the sunlight made me feel like Siegfried in the Forest Murmurs. I went all the way to the Middenhut where I just had 40K. The way back was a blast and took me half an hour less because the wind was now giving me a nice push in the back.

    Ride Stats: 80.5K and 425 heightmeters in 3h37mins

    6504/59200

    27-07-2007, 16:06 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    26-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Easy does it
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Did a fine tour looping over Hamme Mille and then further on to Sart Melin and Saint Remy Geest. Some very pittoresque villages just over the language border. From there I went on towards Hoegaarden , Hoksem and Bremt, where I did the last few K of the second stage of the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant, which starts and ends in Haasrode.

    Ride Stats : 54K and 405 heightmeters in 2h23mins

    6424/58775

    Went to the second stage of the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant today, which started and ended in nearby Haasrode. Another opportunity to familiarize myself with the 300mm lens. It was more overcast than yesterday but I still managed to shoot some great pictures along the finish area.



    26-07-2007, 19:08 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    25-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Ronde van Vlaams Brabant
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Today I did a reconnaissance of the big loop the first stage of the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant is going to do. This lap is some 22K long and the riders will have to do it 5 times. After that they also have to do 3 smaller laps of some 14K to complete the stage. The big lap passes before my front door and I was in particular interested in the GPM passage in the Hollestraat in Sint Joris Weert. I plan to go out there this afternoon to try and get some pictures from the riders turning in to the climb. So I stopped and looked around for some vantage points to get good shots.

    Ride Stats : 22K and 180 heightmeters in 58mins

    6370/58370

    Got my Nikon D2X and big 300mm F2.8 Nikkor lens out and posted myself at the bottom and later at the top of the GPM of the first stage of the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant. Here are some of the pics I shot. Hope you like them.


    25-07-2007, 20:03 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    24-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Slippery when Wet
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Wow, tonight and the first hours of today a gusty wind and some rain got free play over our part of the woods. Still when it dried out a bit around 11am I jumped on my Litespeed with the intention to do a few hours of singletrack riding. Luckily my secret Meerdael loop has just that in its first 25K or so. The forest floor was wet, wetter than I imagined it would be. Yet I persevered and was thoroughly enjoying the singletracks, slippery and wet making for a good technical training as well. About 15K in the ride , things became suddenly very dark and it started raining again. My good fortune fairy was with me because I happened to be within a few 100 metres from the Mollendaal shelter. This shelter was filled to the brim with big-eyed girlscouts but I managed to squeeze myself and my bike under the overhanging roof just the same. They were Dutch and were doing the Red Bloso route on hired Trek mountainbikes , starting from the Kluis where they were camped. I explained to them that we were close to the highest point of Mollendaal, so from now on it would be more or less downhill for them. That cheered them up a bit.
    When the rain ceased I bade them farewell and got back on my tracks. The fresh rain made things even slippier and I had a few narrow escapes. Good thing my Schwalbe Nobby Nics 1.8 dug in really good so they helped me to keep the rubber side down. The sun burst through and the sight of a wet forest with sunrays stroking the leaves and evaporating the rain is really a joy to behold. When I got home I had two bikes to clean, the Litespeed obviously but also the Hilset had been getting some rain these last few weeks and was developing a dirty look. I took the best part of an hour to clean them, in a way expressing my thanks for the faithful services they have been giving me for quite some years now. Rubbing them dry and coating them with beeswax to really make the titanium shine and they are ready for new trails.

    Ride Stats : 32.5K and 310 heightmeters in 2h01mins

    6348/58190

    24-07-2007, 18:15 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    23-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Drizzle is also wet
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Aargh, some drizzle this morning, still, the streets were still relatively dry so I set out for a short ride to stretch my legs after this weekends' walking around in Ottignies. I had to put on my Gore Tex jacket soon because it got wetter and wetter. Temps were not really great as well with a scant 16 degrees C. Home in time to see the riders in the Tour the France tackle the second climb of the day and settled before the TV screen for a 4-hour break into the wonderful Pyrenees.

    Ride Stats : 32K and 200 heightmeters in 1h26mins

    6316/57880

    23-07-2007, 18:48 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    22-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Belgian Cross Country MTB Championships
    Yesterday and today I was at the Belgian National Mountainbike Championships, held in Ottignies Louvain-la-Neuve. I saw some great racing on a very selective track, some 6.2K long with 280 heightmeters each lap.
    Our National Cyclocross hero Sven Nys took the title with the Elite Men , before Filip Meirhaeghe who fought the entire race to come back in Svens' wheel, but was not strong enough to do so.


    Trek teammates Kristien Nelen and Petra Mermans battled it out in a sprint with Kristin taking the jersey in the Womens' Elite class.


    Our own Sebastien Carabin took the title with the Junior men. Hans Urkens and Benny Heylen got the title in the Masters 1 and Masters 2 class and Bjorn Brems had a very convincing victory in the -23 Mens class.

    I was a signaller on the race track but nevertheless I managed to take a few pictures, which you can check out HERE.

    22-07-2007, 00:00 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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    20-07-2007
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Rain
    Klik op de afbeelding om de link te volgen
    Just wanted to ride an hour or so to recover from yesterdays ride. So I set out on the Vlaanderen Fietsroute again, but this time in the other direction. It was slightly raining when I started but since this part of the route stays in Meerdaelwoud and Heverleebos for about 10K I was fine. After a while it started raining more and at the end I was getting soaked when a thunderstorm caught me 2K from home. But I got my ride in.

    Ride Stats : 20K and 110 heightmeters in 1h02mins

    6284/57680

    20-07-2007, 13:13 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf

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