The winter hour was upon us and this meant that we all could sleep an hour more in preparation for todays organised ride. I was helping the organisation of the Bierbeek organised ride and when I left home just before 7AM the temperature already was a mild 12 degrees C and the sun was still hiding behind the horizon. My Lupine Tesla helped me find my way in the semi-darkness and when I reached the start at Bierbeek, the rest of the guys were already busy preparing for an invasion of bikers.
I left with Joel to ride the first stretch up to the rest stop at Gottechain. The arrowing was still very much present and we only had to stop once to change a dubiously placed arrow. When we arrived at the rest stop Joel continued on the 45K loop while I chose the 55/65 track. There were a lot of scouts in the Grez-Doiceau area this weekend so care had to be taken in the descents. I met up with Bart who told me that someone had removed the signposts which marked the 55/65 split, just before Heze. He took a shortcut to that spot while I followed the track through Cocrou . When I arrived at the split, Bart was already there, guiding the bikers on either of the 55 or 65K track. A new signpost would be delivered soon. I continued into Heze and started on the long climb that would lead me to the Chapelle du Cheneau in Longueville. The cobbles were wet and the sun was shining in my face through the foliage of the trees alongside the hollow road.
A little bit further , I met up with Frank who informed me that a small disaster had struck. Seems that every arrow since the 55/65 split had been systematically removed. I rode past him and indeed, all arrows were gone. It became even more serious and devious. Past the Chapelle du Cheneau and entering Longueville, a new track had been signed !
I had the original track on my GPS and when I arrived at a crossroads where I knew our track veered to the right, I saw arrows pointing straight ahead. I thought it must have been a last-minute track change so I continued and followed this new track until I came on the fields overlooking Gistoux. Here all arrowing stopped.
So not only did they remove 10K of arrowing, they also took the time to put up some new arrows, clearly with the intention of leading the passing mountainbikers into oblivion. Organised crime at an organised ride?
I made sure to put new arrows leading from this spot back to the original track. Further along I was passed by bikers which meant that my arrowing was working. In the mean time, Bart and Frank were also doing their best to re-arrow the rest of the 65K loop back into Heze.
Past Heze a long singletrack took us up into Biez and another singletrack brought us back down and into Grez Doiceau.
Here the signage appeared to be OK again. Completing the 55/65K loop I now rejoined the bikers on the 45K loop. There were masses of them. I could enjoy the beautiful weather a little bit more whilst riding my bike through Archennes, La Malaise and then towards Pecrot. The trail was beautiful but the succession of climbs was demanding on the legs .
The arrowing was impeccable now . It appears only the extra loop of the 65K had been targeted. Still, I can imagine a lot of bikers who were mislead. I encountered big groups of them and they were very happy that someone could point them in the right direction. I could feel the fatigue in my legs and I also felt hungry when I reached the end of the ride. I was told that there were 1700 bikers today, which is some kind of record for this organisation I'm sure. I hope they all had a great ride and for those who had to look for arrows on the 65K, my sincere apologies but we did our best to get the arrowing back in place as soon as possible.
Ride Stats : 77.5K and 870/985 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 4h01mins
30-10-2011, 13:41 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf