Yesterday evening we got a thunderstorm but this morning things looked sunny again. Except for the east where there were still dark clouds gathering. I wanted to do an easy recovery ride so I chose the Haasrode Tour which took me along Haasrode, Willebringen, Hoksem and Oirbeek towards Hoegaarden. Coming back over L'Ecluse and La Bruyere I chose the shortcut over Beauvechain and Hamme Mille. The wind was less fierce than yesterday and from time to time a couple of raindrops fell. But the sun was still there and the temperatures were in the 20 degrees C range. From Hamme Mille I added another loop over Nethen and Sint Joris Weert to get back home along the Zoete Waters. The legs felt tired but I did not force anything. Average heartrate was low.
Ride Stats : 60K and 420/412 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h39mins
Great weather this morning, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing from south-easterly directions chasing the temperatures into the low 20 degrees C. I wanted to do a long slow ride and decided to start out in the direction of Maleizen and see if I could find my way towards Waterloo. I had been there once before by bike, a couple of years ago whilst doing the Braine Adeps routes. We got caught by a thunderstorm at the end of the ride and my guide chose to ride back towards La Hulpe and Maleizen. The wind was blowing quite fiercely and I was suffering during this first bit of the ride. The traffic between Maleizen and La Hulpe was rather heavy and the road was on the narrow side, not offering the relative safety of a bikepath. I kept following the direction of Waterloo and after a while I saw the Lions' Butte sticking out on the horizon. Getting there proved to be quite an ordeal because I had to cross a couple of big roads. Fortunately there were seperate bikepaths but finding them wasn't always easy. Near the Waterloo museum I took a little rest and some pictures.
In my mind I had a plan to ride towards Halle from here. So I followed the direction of Rode Saint Genèse and later Hal. The busy but straight road to the north was a relief because the wind was now blowing in my back. I couldn't resist riding towards Sept Fontaines and do a little loop into Hallerbos. I figured the bluebells would be in bloom and I wasn't wrong. Indeed they were, and by the looks of it they had already had their prime. Still the smell and looks of the blue flowers growing between the trees brought back happy memories from years past. In the time BigM was still alive we used to ride over here with the group during this time of the year. Now there hasn't been any initiative at all in this direction. Which is a pity because it is a great area to ride in and it offers lots of fun for every category of biker - from the mere beginner to the more advanced. Again I couldn't resist taking a couple of snapshots.
Riding back towards the Sonian Forest I grazed Tervuren to make my way towards Leefdaal. Here I turned into the wind again. This time it hurt even more because I began to feel the exhaustion from the long ride. At the end I had an even 100 kilometers and an amazing 820 heightmeters. I felt tired but happy nevertheless to have made this ride.
Ride Stats : 100K and 820/822 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 4h29mins Ride Map :
Today we went into Heverleebos with the KBC MTB group. Starting out towards Korbeek Dyle, along some narrow tracks towards the rive Dyle and then into the Doode Beemde. It had rained a bit last night but the Beemde was surprisingly dry. Some nice tracks here getting us into Sint Joris Weert where we face the entry into the big Meerdael forest. This seemed to have suffered a bit more rain since it was muddy here and there. The group was keeping together well and we managed to avoid the worst areas . When we left the forest I decided to cut it short and head home. The others continued back into Heverlee forest and towards the start at the Heverlee caserne.
Ride Stats : 26K and 150/161 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 1h24mins
My neck and lower back felt still stiff from last saturdays' ride but given the fact that the weather forecast for the next days is not a pretty one I decided to go out this evening. The weather was great with nearly 20 degrees C as I rode out on the Moots. What a joy to ride on a bike that has suspension on the two wheels. Even in the offroad I felt blessed to be able to ride such a great bike. Everything on the Moots is so smooth, the XTR shifters work almost telepathically. I only have to think about changing gears and hops - presto, it's done. And then to think that the rear derailleur is 10 years old. It is in fact the XTR that was mounted on my Cannondale in 1999. Just goes to show that good equipment goes a long way. The new Magura Durin SL front fork also turns out to be a very good investment. It is superstiff laterally - in fact I cannot detect any sideways movement at all. This makes the steering hyperexact and the bike just goes where you point it. The YBB rear suspension just gives a smoothing out of the terrain, its as if you are riding with a superbig rear tyre.
I took off at an easy pace along the Green Meerdael BLOSO route, along Heverleebos and down to Korbeek Dyle. Had some fun on the twisty trails next to the E40. The big puddles are nearly dried up and steering around them , using the off-cambers and other ruts was very easy with this bike. When I arrived back into Heverleebos I couldn't resist doing some extra singetrails - some of them forbidden but since I only use them once or twice a year and because the forestry had been using them to haul wood out of the forest , leaving far worse scars than my tiny tyres would ever do. No harm done and before long I was back on allowed trails, looping into the Kouterbos and finishing off back into Heverleebos, Vaalbeek and Blanden. I did an extra loop going over the Wijngaerdberg and along the cemetery near Haasrode to finish with a last loop into Meerdael forest. Had a very relaxing ride and yet my average was not bad. But blame that on the bike.
Ride Stats : 29K and 235/238 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 1h25mins