April 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm #17982
Sounds like a great ride.
Hopefully you can make the meeting tonight Nick (and others). I’m only going on survey responses, but the Saturday rides have clearly got too quick for some. If numbers grow, then having a slower paced ride on a Saturday at the same time might be needed.
April 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm #17979
LBL Pro Race Day
Due to sudden death of M Scarponi – Team Astana led out the start of the LBL pro-race wearing black armbands.
Much more pleasant weather on the Sunday and a great spectacle at Liege main Square, even with the heightened security. We drove out afterwards to the Cote de la Roche-aux- Faucons – the penultimate climb of the race and experienced a brilliant atmosphere, with a local open house near to the top, complete with garage DJ, selling beers etc. Family bbq and quite a few intoxicated but good natured Dutch and Belgium fans adding to the festival of pain that is LBL, and was clearly evident on the faces of the pro peloton and the stragglers (for which you have to have a certain affinity with, after your own sportive efforts).
April 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm #17978
Liege Bastogne Liege 2017 – The Long Route
273Km 5200 meters of climbing (plus a little extra and from the hotel).
Just to prove that there was some GSA representation at LBL 2017 – I started in GSA colours with a small band of 3 brothers from work (three of us with a collective age of 159 plus a whippersnapper and late addition from Essex CC in his early 40s); there were three other in the medium 153Km route but they comprised of a similar age colleague plus two young ladies half his age – but that is another story.
Anyway, the temperature in Liege at dawn 0530ish was a balmy 15.5 deg C which made some laugh in their confident mood, sporting shorts etc. as I only brought winter kit (having studied the BBC satellite weather forecast for the Ardennes area), which proved correct as by the time we reached Bastogne after 103Km it was turning out to be some of the worst conditions I have ever ridden in, with driving rain as a taster, then a strong head wind and crosswinds in the mix for the return leg back to Liege and at that point only having completed one of the nine categorised climbs. There isn’t a flat road in the Ardennes by the way! GSA insignia covered up with a rain jacket from about 75Km to the finale with grey skies, max 7.0 deg C and severe wind chill to add to the mental/physical challenge – who’s laughing now.
The day proved a superb challenge and we three kings of the road managed to stay together by re-grouping at the feed stations.
Our younger prince Essex CC mate sped off to complete in an amazing 11hrs 18mins and fuelled by at least 8 gels – yuk! glad he had a single room.
But as the day wore on and we made the final feed station I was having to wait too long for my slightly less prepared colleagues – Majorca training camp must be too hot compared to the Kent Downs at this time of year… Personal decision made… when they emerged not so fresh from the Redoute (20% mid section) which lived up to its reputation; a brief discussion ensued and I was off on a solo dash to aim to make the finish line within the classified time zone – which closed at 08:15hrs. After, much leg sapping effort and trying to get to the finish line without incident through the horrors of Liege Col Saint Nicolas and some local kids high fiving you (in actual fact, trying to pull you off in the process) – I made it in time to see the time check and barriers being taken down at 08:25 (at Col Saint Nicolas beforehand too), but not disappointed at all. Living up to the retro image, mental note made leaving Liege start approx. 0545hrs, so approx. 14.5hrs lapsed with a rolling time of a fair bit less due to the bon vivant camaraderie (and a bit of collective despair) expressed at the feed stations – So, assumed to be usual sort of 15 mph average for me and cannot prove otherwise, you only know yourself that you made all the 9 categorised climbs plus the other, too many to mention bits non-stop etc.. What a day! What a ride! What an Appetite!!!
April 24, 2017 at 1:56 pm #17983
Steve – fantastic effort. Bringing back all the memories of doing the 274km LBL a few years back. I said “never again” after that, and still feel the same!. It really is so, so, tough. People talk about the section to Bastogne as the warm up before the serious stuff – but I was already struggling at that point.
April 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm #17984
Chris, Thank you – I remember your advice: Don’t do it! but if you have to, make sure you leave at the earliest time as you will need it. You were right, I might well have just made it into the categorised time frame if I had left at 0530hrs promptly and not wasted too much time at the feed stations. But who cares, we did it – it is done, and I now feel the same as you – never again for this LBL challenge, but you know what they say: never say never again.
April 24, 2017 at 10:21 am #17976
Arrived at 8.15 for my early bird special to Snodland. Sergey turned up at 8.25am so having never met him before, we exchanged pleasantries and got on the ride straight away. He didn’t have the route so I was on the front all day. I didn’t realise how lumpy the beginning was. Vigo was the least of my worries 10-15 miles in but together we just cracked through every little climb to Snodland. The route had a nice mixture of b*****d steep hills and undulating roads. On the way back, Sergey was starting to feel it as he hasn’t been out much so the tempo lessened and we got to the Chelsfield by pass which Sergey then turned towards home as it was not worth the effort of getting back to the G when he had to go to Sevenoaks! We did 4,700 ft at 14.3mph and I got home 12.40 ish which is more or less what I wanted to achieve.
I rather like the 08.30am starts and if people vote for it at the club meeting, I am more than happy to get out earlier to lead G2 rides.
April 24, 2017 at 9:09 am #17974
G4 only had 4 riders on a sunny but cool day. Charles and I both agreed that the Gravesend cyclopark was a good option so we took the route i have frequently used as a G3 ride. Up to Badgers Mount, through the lanes to Eynsford, across the A20 then up School lane to Speedgate. We continued through New Ash green before climbing up to the top of Longfield hill. This is the highest point of the route before riding through Meopham, Sole street and on to Cobham. Here we deviated from my G3 route by heading down to the A2 and took the cycle path to the velopark for eleven’s.
The return ride continued with the steady pace we had set all morning through Southfleet, Longfield then back to Farningham before climbing up to Crockenhill and following the back lanes back to Orpington.
43 miles at 13 mph average.
April 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm #17962
A great ride today,we decided on Marden same as G1/2. There were ten in the group Simon L,Steve C,Claire W,Simon P,Lee P,
Wasiq,Sadie B,Sunash,Ken I,and myself.Everyone going well with a good avanti team pursuit to Paddock wood,a bit of bit n bit.
A good stop at Brookside for a small lunch waving to Tea Pot Island on the way past !
Racing 100 tractors on the way back to Plaxtol im sure everyone enjoyed the ride as much as me.
16 + mph av,2900 ft climb. After me shower even put me Avanti T-shirt on! Thanks to Simon L for guidance.
April 22, 2017 at 7:26 pm #17923
Today’s early Saturday ride was approached with a degree of trepidation on my part, having been laid low with a bug most of the week, and also suffering a sore neck which made glancing over my right shoulder to check the group particularly painful. Luckily for me the assembled cast removed the latter issue by pretty much staying in front of me all the way round ! Those kind enough in this respect were John C, Paul B, Graham C, Dave B, Julian S, Lee S, Johnnie O and Guy Mc. Off they set with me offering the odd indication of direction from mid pack (at best), towards Shampan, then out to Tandridge Lane and Oxted. Pilgrims Way, Chevening, Dunton Green, Shoreham, Eynsford and Crockenhill all came round in fairly rapid fashion as the group moved well together, with Lee often leading the way for us. The temptation for our faster members pushed them along Pilgrims Way impressively, and afforded them a longer rest as the slower part of the ride ( we were caught by traffic at the crossing points ! ), rolled in to join them for a few minutes of refuelling. By now it was clear the sunglasses were not the cause of the slightly grey outlook, it was the greying skies themselves. Thus as we turned out of Eynsford towards Crockenhill it started raining, and stuck with us all the way back to the finish at Belmondos, where we were lucky enough to find plenty of space indoors. A couple of coffees gave us the chance to dry out, and the rain to clear before we eventually left. Well done to all today, and thanks for all the turns on the front that helped get me round. My ride was 68.5km, at 26.3kph, with 650m of up (everyone else shows more in Strava as ever), on our rolling route avoiding the big hills.
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