ROUBAIX 2018 Report

Mat

13:30 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


So....

The idea was to ride the long sportive on Saturday and watch the race on Sunday. A few weeks ago it became apparent that lack of training (new job, snow, lack of effort) meant that the first element wasn't going to happen as planned. So Mark N and I elected to sample some of the route on Sat and we rode 4 separate loops (using the car in between) taking in most of the iconic secteurs. Arenburg, Pont Gibus, Orchies, Camphin En Pevele, Carrefour De L'Arbre and the Velodrome itself. Maybe 45 miles in total and 18 miles of Pave. Mark's loops also had a couple of bonus Pave secteurs that weren't even on the race route. That was enough.

The cobbles are tough! You need power and speed and to stay on the crown. It's hard work to maintain the speed so you need to be fit and strong. I wasn't. We were on rubbish old bikes (that we could chain up outside the pub) and our feet weren't clipped in. At times I felt like I was losing the pedals due to the vibrations - but the hands take the most punishment. When you get it right it's fun... for a couple of hundred yards. Arenburg was lethal as slippy and we ducked under the rope onto the footpath - we'd already seen some seriously damaged riders who'd hit the deck in "The Trench". Once out of the forest the weather was perfect & we had a fabulous French pic-nic of Brie, baguettes & coffee at the side of the route.

On the Sunday we found a big screen next to the Carrefour De L'Arbre secteur - great weather and some event. Atmosphere a bit like the Saturday of a Test Match - lots of well oiled, good humoured blokes, some in fancy dress etc. First we cheered the juniors as they came through with Brit, Lewis Askey, handily placed to win - which he duly did. Then to watch the entire field go past in Sagan's wake, close enough to touch, was simply awesome. We walked back up to the screen to watch the finish - Sagan is some rider & chapeaux Sylvain Dillier. We saw the last rider go past maybe 45 mins later and well after the race was won.

V cheap hotel. Rode into old town of Lille for 2 nights of fantastic food and beer. Just perfect. We met lots of British blokes (it is a predominantly, but not exclusively, male event it seems) who had done the ride and listened to their tales of broken bikes, sore hands and pride in finishing. Some cycling weekend. Highly recommended.

Having experienced the cobbles there is part of me that is tempted to get fit, get the right setup in terms of wheels & tyres and do the sportive... But then again...

What we ended up doing was perfect.

Mat

13:30 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


Carrefour De L'Arbre around 3 hours before the race on Sunday. Serious cobbles hence me pushing our bikes.

Mat

13:37 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


Didi & his apprentice.

Mat

13:38 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


Proud of our Roubaix Race Ready bikes (steel forks are the future) at the entrance to Secteur 4

Mat

13:38 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


nice one Mat, sounds like you had a great time :o)

hibbettgoblin

16:59 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


Perfect weekend.

macca

17:10 Mon, 16 Apr 2018


Absolutely brilliant weekend.
i was secretly pleased Mat wasn't riding the sportive as it meant that we could take a more relaxed approach to the weekend!
Especially when we were both woken at 4am on saturday morning (after a particularly nice meal of foie gras and fried duck gizzards) by the clip-clopping of cycling shoes and the clicking of freewheels in the hotel corridor as sportive participants departed for the bus!

markn

13:52 Tue, 17 Apr 2018


Jelle Wallays - one of the original break who couldn't quite hang onto a rampaging Sagan and "Ride of the Day" Dillier

markn

14:02 Tue, 17 Apr 2018


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