The weather forecast for today was one out of a thousand. Unclouded skies, a little bit of cooling wind and temperatures rising to 28 degrees C and more. So I was out there. The plan for today was to ride to Maleves Sainte Marie Wastines, a little village somewhere in the area between Opprebais and Perwez, find the start of the organised ride that is taking place there tomorrow, and ride most of the 50K distance. Getting there was an adventure on its own. I started towards Bossut and Gottechain, because I knew that the ride was going to pass there. Sure enough I found the blue/white O2 Bikers-sponsored arrowing. But I had no idea where exactly on the loop I was. Was I near the start, or on the return loop? How many K to go, how much already done at that point? I had no clue, so I needed to get as close to the start as possible to do as much of the ride as possible. The ride crosses another organised ride, the Haasrode one, so people taking part in either og those two rides tomorrow will have to be vigilant to stay on the right track. I have no free time tomorrow morning , thats why I decided to do this ride today. Normally I help the Haasrode organisation but the 16th of August is the day my mother died, and there is a commemorative service each year on the sunday closest to that date. Unfortunately for the Haasrode guys, the service coincided with their ride. So no way I was going to be available tomorrow. I met up with a few of the guys when I reached Gottechain, they had to place arrows but had forgotten to load them - or something..
I rode on towards Longueville and then to Incourt. I had not yet seen any markings towards MSMW (Maleves Sainte Marie Wastines) so I decided to ask for directions. A very friendly man explained I had to ride towards Opprebais - look for the white mill - and then follow straight on and I would arrive in MSMW. And indeed I did.
MSMW is a very small town, with a nice little church and what looks to be an old abbey. I started circling around in the town centre to pick up on the markings or find the start of tomorrows' ride. I succeeded in neither and after a while I decided to ride back towards Opprebais and follow the first markings I came upon. Sure enough, I spotted the orange arrowing on the tarmac and a little further the first blue/white arrows . Yippee, I was on the track. The first part of the ride is pretty much confined to field tracks, leading towards the north. Arriving in Longueville and pushing further on towards Cocrou things get a little more hilly and also some forest passages are thrown in. Below Gottechain the track meets the Haasrode track and both run parallel to each other towards Grez Doiceau. In Grez I stopped at a local shop - it was open despite this being a holiday in Belgium - to refill my drinking bottle with some Coke Zero. Yeah I know, but it was cool and got me going again. The heavy part of the ride was when the trail lead me towards Bonlez and later towards Chaumont Gistoux. Here they take in a couple of nice climbs and also - unfortunately - a muddy passage leading towards the Chaumont Gistoux menhir standing in a field amidst the cows. This menhir - called 'Le Cheval de Goffe' - is said to be 5000 years old. I was starting to feel the pounding of the sun now and decided to call it a day after the track rode down into Chaumont again. I returned towards Longueville and Grez Doiceau. Stopped at the little store in Grez again for another Coke Zero refill - thanks to the lovely girl opening the shop today ! I then rode home over Bossut and Les Claines. Into Meerdael forest and its cooler shade. It was a long ride, a hot ride and I was pretty tired at the end of it. Not sure what tomorrow will bring but I already got one satisfying ride in this weekend.
Ride Stats : 94K and 970/1090 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 5h10mins
15-08-2009, 19:35 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf