Friday, 22 April 2011

Danny's Perspective of Flanders

This was an excellent trip which provided a fantastic route, which was well organised and amazing weather. The predictions were for a hot day amd I sent Steve the forecast through a few days before, unfortunately he thought I was winding him up! It must have been seriously hot for Steve and Don in those thermal tights! If it slows them down thats fine with me!

We did plan to stick together, but myself and Nick tred to push on early-on which led to us leaving the others, which was a shame but Steve does like calling me Vino!

The first strech of cobbles was a real wake up and resulted in my chain coming off, and not for the first time. Nick was blasting over the cobbles and waiting for me to appear shortly after. We decided not to stop at the first or second feed stop as were keen to hit the cobbled climbs. The first few were uneventful apart from my chain coming off again. On to the first monument climb the Koppenberg with both of us moving up together; the sound of an ambulance behind us resulted in us having to stop. A quick remount resulted in myself reaching the top first with Nick following shortly after cursing his pedals!

As we rode throgh the early afternoon hours the heat was building up and water was getting low. A mirage of a drink stop turned out to be the Red Bull pit stop with no water just energy drinlks and lots of nubile young women thrusting cans of drink in your hands, not that I noticed! Further cobled climbs came and went, Nick was flying up and I was following behind. With two climbs to go we were out of water and the final feed stop was a welcome sight. Filled with water and waffles we approached the muur. 
With Nick advising that he wanted to take it easy for the approaching kilometers as he wanted to be first up it. As we hit the tarmac section of the climb Nick disappeared up the road, as I came round the first cobbled section he was lying on the barriers being re-launched after a mishap. 

As Steve advised this is a fantastic climb, that really pulls you up. I was climbing well and failed to notice Nick lying ia heap with another rider he had rear ended. I got to the top and assumed Nick was ahead of me, so I decided to push on, half way up the Bosberg my phone was ringing, I saw it was Nick, no response, I tried another 5 times and decided to push on. I caught a fast moving group and were hitting speeds of 27 - 30 mph. With the finishing line approching, no sign of Nick I blew the bugal for the photographers and beamed a big smile and thought that was great. 

Nick appeared 10 minures later. Albeit Nick was far stronger than me on the climbs and cobbled sections; the records will show that I assended the Koppeburg, Muur and Bosberg ahead of him; don't you just luv stats!

It was a shame for Diesel and he has unfinished business and I for one will be definately joining him next year!