In the past year Team Sixcycle-RK&O has spent time riding in distant locations ranging from California (both LA and San Francisco) to Italy (with a stop in between in Louisville). However more recently two of the team’s racers traveled to the mecca of cycling – Belgium – to experience riding on the cobbles and watching the pros in action. Upon his return Daniel Cleiman posted this report on his experience.
Belgium Riding report from Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Daniel Cleiman
Spring is in the air! As the temperature rises, we start to forget the cold winter days and mindless hours spent on the trainer in preparation for the upcoming season. Spring is also the time of year when I empty my DVR from last year’s races and start to fill it with fresh footage.
As amateur bike racers we look to the pros for inspiration. While many athletes resort to Netflix movies as a means to pass the time training indoors, I find motivation in pretending that I’m keeping up with the pro-peloton as we climb the Alpe d’Huez, or that I’m sitting on Tom Boonen’s wheel as he solos through the cobbles to win the 2012 Paris-Roubaix.
While stage races from the grand tours are always fun and exciting to watch, nothing beats the one-day Spring Classics – a true measure of a rider’s ability to go all-out and leave nothing behind but blood, sweat, and glory.
This year, six of us decided to take a few days off from work and go ride the famous Belgian cobbles. And thanks to Team Sixcycle rider Bruce Fecheyr-Lippens, and his parents Patrick and Dominique, we were able make this dream a reality.
We were welcomed to a beautiful farm house in heart of Flanders, surrounded by the same legendary roads, hills and cobbles featured in the Spring Classics. The location couldn’t have been more perfect as the starting point of our misty morning rides. We felt like pros as we awoke early each morning to a wonderful breakfast spread.
We’d ride for 4 to 5 hours each day, then return to another hearty, warm, and delicious meal.
Our evenings were spent relaxing by the fireplace while enjoying the local Belgian brews and some good conversation. Belgium’s Tour of Flanders is the nation’s most important day of cycling.
This year, it was an even more special event as thousands of spectators lined the 260 km course to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this epic race, and cheer on their favorite riders as they braved the cobbles, narrow roads, and wind from the medieval city of Bruges to Oudenaarde.
We timed our trip perfectly to finish our five consecutive days of riding with the Tour de Flanders Sportive, an amateur race which allows over 16,000 riders to preview the Tour de Flanders course a day before the professional race. And for those who are wondering what a “sportive” is, think of it as a very well organized “gran fondo” that’s 1/10th of the price you’d find here in the U.S. In sum, the sportive was a fantastic opportunity to experience all 17 of the “bergs”, the most famous of which are the obscenely steep Koppenberg and the final Paterberg where Cancellara took off for his win.
But I’ll let the pictures do the talking! All in, a wonderful experience with great friends, wonderful hosts, and fantastic riding!
- Bruce Fecheyr-Lippens & Daniel Cleiman – Team Sixcycle RK&O
- Mike Anderson & Michael Kueh – Team FGX
- Daniel Lammon & Edward Nessen – Team Siggi’s