Bucket list… Flanders/Roubaix/etc… Pre-event/Race ride stuff ?

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  • Bucket list… Flanders/Roubaix/etc… Pre-event/Race ride stuff ?
  • Premier Icon weeksy
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    I’m sure some of you have done this sort of thing before so thoguht i’d ask on here.

    Thinking of one of the Belgian/Spring (yes i know PAris is in France but know what i mean) classics for a weekend away. But with the twist of riding the course (or the majority of it) in advance of the event. I’m sure i’ve seen/heard of ones that are run the day before etc.

    Would be a bit of a bucket list type thing for sure. Fri/Mon type thing with a few beers, bit of food and some riding/watching.

    But where to begin with the planning etc ?

    https://sportivebreaks.com/sportives/
    Haven’t looked at the details but it might give you a few ideas

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Thanks buddy..

    Just found this for Milan SanRemo
    https://classicissima.it/en/granfondo/route/

    Premier Icon w00dster
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    Having done it quite a lot, as I’ve got older I’ve preferred to wait for Pais Nice in Nice. I know it’s not bucket list, but I’d much rather be watching it under a warm sun.
    The sportive is the Saturday in Nice, with the final stage being the next day.
    Other option for me would be Milan San

    https://www.parisnicechallenge.com/en/event/news#news-65-preregistration-for-the-2020-paris-nice-challenge

    Milan Sanremo

    I’ve watched a lot of pro races, and as much as I’ve enjoyed Belgium, it’s a long time in the cold, wet and wind.
    I now see it as Paris Roubaix and Flanders are beer at home in the afternoon with heating on after a ride.
    I was fortunate to do both Paris Nice and Milan San Remo in 2017. Great places to be after months of riding in rubbish British weather.

    dovebiker
    Member

    The best one to do is the Ronde van Vlandeeren on the Saturday before the race. You really get an appreciation of just how hard the races are when you hit the Koppenberg at 200km.

    Milan San Remo is mental – a big group forms at the start and you hang on for 8 hours at nearly 40kph.

    There’s no longer a full-length Paris-Roubaix sportive which is a shame because it’s properly hard – the ASO version is only a ‘lite’ version

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Chatting to the guy via link above they do this

    Gent Wevelgem

    So you get to see E3 Harelbeck (sp?) on the Friday and the gent-wevelgem on the Sunday, with your riding for a 50km on the Friday to watch and then you ride the Gent-WV course on the Sat, then watch it on the Sunday.

    That’s deffo appealing.

    But the Milan San Remo, well yes, doing the Nabili descent has to be exciting !

    We’re considering either Flanders or Paris Roubaix next year.

    The idea was just randomly floated after a week of perfect roads and weather in Girona, surprising that everyone was so keen for a long weekend of possible wind and rain on the cobbles!

    I’m currently nursing a suspected herniated disc so am erring towards Flanders as apparently the cobbles are slightly less savage than P-R.

    Logistics look to involve bus transfers in the early AM from hotels, and a lot of the organisers seem to offer bolt ons like guaranteed spectating in the velodrome in Roubaix, etc. etc.

    Definite bucket list stuff, can’t wait.

    corroded
    Member

    I generally do one or two of the spring classic sportives, not least because it’s great motivation to stay fit over winter. And you’re riding (most of) the same course as the pros the day before/after. The Belgian ones are accessible by car from the UK – Roubaix is a great challenge, Flanders suffers somewhat from crowding on the climbs. Strade Bianche and Tro Bro Leon also huge fun. We’ve always travelled independently, booking accommodation early.

    Rod
    Member

    Flanders is great… sportive on the Saturday then watch the race on Sunday (if you go to the spectators area on the Oude Kwaremont then you get to see the juniors, women and then the men’s race 3 times – so far better than your usual cycling spectating). Best to stay in Oudenaarde for logistics (we stayed in Ghent, which is great but made logistics tricky) and easy to book it all independently.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Interesting guys 🙂

    Just need to speak to my mate and get his thoughts 🙂

    Premier Icon leffeboy
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    Flanders is great… sportive on the Saturday then watch the race on Sunday (if you go to the spectators area on the Oude Kwaremont then you get to see the juniors, women and then the men’s race 3 times – so far better than your usual cycling spectating). Best to stay in Oudenaarde for logistics (we stayed in Ghent, which is great but made logistics tricky) and easy to book it all independently.

    All of that.   The Oude Kwaremont is a great viewing point with big screens, beer and frites.  Like your living room but full of Flemish.  The biggest problem with the sportiv was that there were so many people that the classic climbs would quickly get blocked by people.  They could still be ridden but it did require being able to ride very slowly and keep your balance.  However I believe that now they are stopping people at the bottom of each of them and letting them up in groups to give you a better shot at it.  I haven’t done it for a couple of years now so maybe someone who did it last year can confirm

    That’s interesting. I did Flanders in 2017 with mates. Best day out on a bike ever. Made it up all the hellingen without being stopped by traffic – apart from Koppenberg which was just too busy. The atmosphere in Oudenaarde on the Saturday night is awesome. Great little town. Definitely stay there as you can see the rider presentation on the Saturday evening for the womens race and have a few (or a lot) of beers. On the Sunday there are loads of (free?) buses that take you to the Oude Kwaremont from there. Local tip – buy a crate of Jupiler and take it to where you’re going to watch the race. Drink beer and sit on the crate.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
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    Local tip – buy a crate of Jupiler Kwaremont and take it to where you’re going to watch the race. Drink beer and sit on the crate.

    Really.  If you are coming all the way here don’t waste your time with Jupiler.  It’s good straightforward drinking beer but there is so much better….

    Yeah but a crate?? I want to be able to still see by the time the pros come through!! Kwaremont deserves a proper glass, served by a nice Belgian barmaid/man.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Weather? I’m seeing lots of cold wet guys, chance of sun? Lol

    Premier Icon leffeboy
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    It’s random.  Had some great years with lots of sun and some duff ones.  It’s still always fun even it it’s cold fun

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Fair call.

    So I’m assuming you can enter these without the packages? Just find your own hotels and book a place on the rides? I’m struggling to get concise information.

    I think my mate fancies Milan San Remo up above due to weather etc. But me personally I fancy Flanders or even the E3/Gent-WV as above. I think it would be awesome

    Premier Icon eddie11
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    Flanders is dead easy to do. Belgium is tiny. Loads of towns to stay in around. Ghent is a short drive to oudenarde for the sat sportive. Sunday race if you have a designated driver kwaremont is awesome. Dump vehicle on a road. Loads of beer tents, TVs and men’s and women’s races go past 5 times in total. If everyone wants to drink train can be pre booked online and is cheap to oudenarde. Watch women’s race and men’s passage through town square drinking beer. Walk over to kopenberg, it’s got a small beer and frites and a big tv. Watch men go past. See finish on tv, walk back to oudenarde and see all team buses and have more beer.

    Paris Roubaix is purer as it’s the proper route for the last 80k or so but watching it is weirdly under commercialized and Dirt cheap food and beer in the velodrome which is free to get in (!). The whole of Flanders goes nuts but you get the impression the rest of roubaix aren’t really bothered. And northern France is a dump. Stay in Flanders and drive across

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Thanks again 🙂

    It’s all sounding very appealing. Well if the weather plays ball that is. I’ll see what my Oppo fancies then 🙂

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    RVV is the best one I’ve done (done loads of these, and before they became a “thing” you don’t need to do a “sportive” unless you want to be guided around because plenty of folks do it on their own)

    It’s a great mix of riding hard and cruising along with groups having fun.

    Roubaix is too hard to enjoy unless you’ve got a lot of fitness and willing to be battered to death… it’s doable obvz, but you need to build up to it.

    Tour of Lombardia is my all time fave, done it 6 times and it’s one I miss most now I don’t ride much. It’s a toughy though, unless you love climbing long/short steep mountains it’s one to consider when that’s you thing.

    The parcours of Flanders might suit your riding style more than Lombardia Weeksy. It does feel as described above. Tempo stuff with 2-5 minute high wattage intervals. I’m sure there’s a Spring Classics workout on Zwift that helps.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    TBH I’ve now looked into most ‘packages’ and the one that makes the most sense in ease and finance is the E3/Gent/W-V event. It’s £299 (or £399 for single room) for hotel, entry, transfers, sportive etc… Just need to get to Gent ourselves.

    I looked at the Strade Bianchi, Flanders, Milan San Remo, etc but they’re either too expensive or the wrong kind of ride…

    I’m going to do my best to talk my mate into https://sportivebreaks.com/sportives/gent-wevelgem/

    Whether we do as part of a ‘package’ or do individually and arrange hotels etc, i don’t yet know… I’m favouring the package for the first time of asking.

    Locoboy
    Member

    I did RVV this year, we went over on the Tuesday evening, did our own rides on Wednesday and Thursday then did the sportive on Saturday, watched the pros at oud Kwaeremont on the Sunday and came home on the monday.
    Stayed Air BnB outside Ghent and drove to the sportive start and also to the big industrial estate for the free busses to Kwaeremont on the Sunday.
    Very well organised event even if I only did the 50 miler, not too much traffic on the cobbles either.
    Great beer, great people and all in for about £500 per couple including travel.

    Mister P
    Member

    We’ve already got the Eurotunnel and a hotel in Ghent booked for the Tour Of Flanders weekend. I’ve ridden it a couple of times before so when my colleague mentioned going I jumped at it.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    https://www.sportive.com/events/tour-of-flanders-sportive-ronde-van-vlaanderen-2020/2020-belgium/4104/cycling

    Speaking the Flanders / RVV then…. I’m struggling to find out entry stuff, when is the entry usually released ? From what i can see it’s the weekend after the Gent/W-G event, which is fine

    edit
    Entries for the 2020 edition of the Tour of Flanders will open in November. Sign up to the Sportive.com newsletter to receive an email alert as soon as entries open

    Weeksy. From memory the RVV entry is relatively easy. It doesn’t fill up immediately like that daft London sportif. Entries were still open a few weeks before the event when we did it.

    aP
    Member

    Don’t go with a company. Just look when the UCI race will be and book accommodation. Then enter the ride.
    We did RVV for about 5 years then switched to Paris-Roubaix for 5 years. Last year we did Tro Bro Leon. We ended up with locals so effectively rode the whole route except for the finishing circuit. Meant that we saw some fantastic bits that aren’t on the ‘people’s ride’ and the next day we saw the race in about 4 places that we wouldn’t have known about.
    This year we didn’t go out because the dates of any of them didn’t work for us.
    The big problem is that that accommodation gets booked up quickly.

    zissou
    Member

    Read about what we did here…

    CLICKEDY CLICK

    We did Roubaix and Flanders in one weekend- and it cost less than £200 all in. Drove down Friday night and visited the Velodrome and Showers etc, rode the Roubaix Sportive Saturday, Flanders ride doing all the main bergs Sunday morning and then straight across to watch the pro race on the Carrefour de l’Arbre. Back in UK by 10pm.

    We are all going again this year as it was so good.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
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    Sign up is here I think http://www.werideflanders.com/en/

    Entries open early November but as far as I remember it’s not a huge rush to get in.  About 50 eur each I think but it’s been a few years since I’ve done the sportive.  Love going down to watch on the Sunday though

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Thanks again guys 🙂

    I think my mate is in for the full 220km Flanders.. the crazy bugger.. .I wasn’t thinking quite that long myself, but hey, i’ll ride whatever he says.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Right then kids… I need a final bit of advice.

    2 scenarios..

    1. Doing the E3 viewing on the Friday, then riding the Gent/Wevelgem on the Sat, then watching the Pro version on the Sunday.

    2. Doing the Flanders the weekend after.

    Which would you pick and where to stay for best locations ? We’re not party boys but we like a beer in the evening and some food of course. From what i can see the locations likely are Gent, Oudenaarde and Wevelgem, possibly Kortrijk.

    Whilst i watch the events each year, i don’t know where the towns are in relation to the climbs or indeed whether we want to watch on the climbs or we want to view on the Finish instead ? Oude Kwaremont seems to potentially work as per slowpuncheur above

    The atmosphere in Oudenaarde on the Saturday night is awesome. Great little town. Definitely stay there as you can see the rider presentation on the Saturday evening for the womens race and have a few (or a lot) of beers. On the Sunday there are loads of (free?) buses that take you to the Oude Kwaremont from there

    So…. What to pick based upon all of that ?

    edit : Oudeaarde seems like an impossible task financially for that weekend as you’d expect i guess… Nothing on Air-BNB that’s a sensible distance away and a sensible price.

    Premier Icon kilo
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    We stayed in Geraardsbergen when doing Flanders easy drive to oudeaarde and you can do the Muur

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Weirdly I found something but lost the link now that stated the gent wevelgem was now starting and ending in Ypres from 2020. Can’t find the link now.

    Obviously that would affect a few decisions greatly.

    Still very much torn on which weekend to pick

    Uh-oh.

    As I lie here nursing my sciatica and preparing to embark on some serious months of core work to preventing it happening again, I also appear to have booked accommodation for the Paris-Roubaix Challenge 2020.

    Loving the idea up there ^ somewhere of doing some cheeky Tour of Flanders climbs on the morning of the Paris-Roubaix proper, then getting back to watch the finale somewhere. Have plotted a tasty 92km that takes in most of the RvV climbs, almost more excited about that than the P-R actually…

    But in the meantime, lots of painkillers and pilates. Good to have something to look forward to!

    Premier Icon notmyrealname
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    That sounds similar to my plans for next year but I’m going to do RVV and ride a Roubaix loop the following day.

    Paris Roubaix is Easter weekend next year I believe so travel and accommodation might be a pain. We did RVV on Easter weekend last year and the tunnel crossing was murder!

    Ooh yikes, what was a nightmare about the tunnel?

    Will book in advance I guess, was it just big queues?

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    I think either way we’ll be looking at 7am ferry so should be ok on the Friday, then coming back we’ll do lunchtime in the Monday, so again shouldn’t be the end of the world.

    Premier Icon notmyrealname
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    Yes, horrendously busy at the terminal with no parking and queues a mile long for food, drinks and toilets.

    Saying that we were travelling out on Good Friday morning at about 10am as we didn’t realise it was Easter when we booked!

    It would probably be ok if you got there for an early crossing.

    Coming back on the Sunday was a breeze, not busy at all.

    We’re driving from Edinburgh! Unlikely to get to Dover until 2pm-ish.

    Maybe that 22hr ferry crossing from Rosyth wouldn’t be so bad after all…

    Premier Icon leffeboy
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    The Rosyth ferry was pretty rough.  IIRC it had previously been used for skooting around doing summer trips in the med, was a bit barf tastic if the sea got rough.  Hated it.  Top choice for Edinburgh to Belgium now is the Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.  Clearly not as cheap as Dover but I can’t do those huge drives any more

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