|The Ride:Yesterday was measly and rainy so the planned ride in Ottenburg fell into the water for me. I heard today only 250 bikers turned up . This must have been a disaster for the organisers but that is one of the risks you face when organizing an outdoor activity in November.
Today then, and I was keen to get on my bike, the weather looked good, it had only rained sparsely since yesterday afternoon and the start at Archennes was only 12k from my home. Let's GOStarted very late (11.30am) so no crowd at all. The organisation, "la 2ieme Boucle des 5 Rivieres" , was in the hands of a local school, helped by some members of my club, the Blancs Gilets. No discount for licensees so I had to fork over 4 for the 40K distance. Prices varied from 1 to 4 Euros corresponding to distances between 10 and 40K.Took a pic of the map, got on my bike and off I went.
It started out fairly easy going up towards Les Monts and the outskirts of Wavre and Grez-Doiceau. A very wet downhill leading from the Bercuit golf circuit down towards Bayarmont and Morsain , were I greeted the earth with my right hip . Having put on Nokian NBX Lite tyres which are not at their best when things get really muddy and sticky I was fearing the worse.
But my fears were premature since the rest of the ride was as good as dry, one or two puddles notwithstanding.
The ride hooked up with the Accro Bike after passing through Grez-Doiceau and followed this hilly track for quite a while. Since this is one of my favorite training areas I was enjoying the ride, but secretly hoping they would soon leave the Accro and find their own trail.
Not far from Cocrou, on the Longue Tienne, awaited a first rest stop, some 16K into the ride. Even though I left very late, there was still plenty of stuff to eat and drink, they even had a bottle of Martini, which I politely declined. Some good sports drink and a couple of chocolate cookies filled up what little hunger I had and I drove on.
After Cocrou the ride left the "Accro Bike" area and after passing the busy road to Jodoigne a long uphill on cobbles brought us in the Bois de Linsmeau, were a nice fast, rocky and rooty downhill followed.
Another uphill and then a nice little 40K-only-loop with a very steep ascent along a field into Gottechain.
The wind was blowing fiercely into my face as I went down towards Guertechain and after crossing the Wavre-Hamme Mille road I came onto the second rest stop, 26K out.
Met Nicolas Casteels there, who was riding a tandem together with Manu, owner of Moving Bike. I got some hot soup here which really warmed me up nicely after the cold wind. Upon leaving I took the wrong direction but quickly found out (no more arrows) so I turned back and took the right split (the one going left) this time.
Dropping into Nethen via the famous "jungle downhill" which was a piece of cake today, only a big puddle near the end. Back up again and this would be my ordeal for the next couple of K's . Up and down, up and down, every now and then with my face into the wind. I saw Nicolas and Manu in the distance and made an effort to rejoin them, which I did just before Pecrot.
They went downhill with the speed of a train, and after I passed them in one of the uphills, they came thundering by me again in the following downhill. Big brakes and of course the advantage of quite a bit of weight made them go really fast here. But then came a nasty singletrack uphill, leading up to the last rest stop.
In the beginning of that uphill they were riding before me but had to bail out at the steepest bit , leaving me stranded as well. Nicolas gave me a good push though and I managed to ride the whole thing. Had to wait quite a bit at the third rest stop (which only had a very limited amount of food left) but this gave me the chance to chat up with Eric Anris, co-organiser of this ride and himself organising the 'For Your Pleasure' ride in Pecrot on the 3rd of December.
Make a note of this, because that is a great ride coming up in just 2 weeks ' time !!
After this stop, the ride ondulated up and down some more, going over La Malaise where I found some muddy patches along the "La Hocaille" sandpit. We then dropped into Archennes to finish the ride after some 44K (closer to 42K because I made a little detour after the 2nd rest stop)
Met up with Sandrine and Atef from BigM just before the finish area. There was only one hose to wash the bikes with, which was OK in these conditions but there really should be at least 3 or 4 hoses.
Ride Stats : 44K and 660 heightmeters The Lowdown:What I liked:
+ great area
+ arrowing was without fault
+ distance splits were very well marked, before AND after the split
+ well stocked rest stops, and 3 of them on the 40K
+ danger markers at the really dangerous spots/downhills
+ disaster number was handed out at inscription and was also on every arrow
What I did not like:
- this ride was too short, a 50K distance would be nice.
- only one hose at the bike wash.
A great ride, providing distances for each level from 10K to 40K. Perhaps a longer distances for the real bikers would have been a bonus. The rest stops were well stocked and even for the late starters there was plenty of food and some soup and/or sports drinks in lots of flavors.The arrowing was without fault, I only took a wrong turn once, after the second rest stop, but that was my fault.
The Bare Facts:Ride Profile : CLICKMap of the Ride : CLICK
Some pictures taken by Schijfrem : CLICK
12-11-2006, 00:00 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf