The Bulletís Belgian Adventure
By Barry ďthe BulletĒ Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian
Day 4- Monday, April 3 , 2006
Today I was off to
The ride began at the hotel in Mont Saint Aubert/Tournai (or Doornijk in Flemish, every Town has 2 names) but the hard ride started in Cysoing-Bourghelles (1.4 km long).† A monument to Gilbert Duclos Lasalle dedicated this section to the French hero (2 time winner, 1992 and 1993).† This section wasnít the hardest section but it was close (4 out of 5 stars).† [see the official P-R rating www.letour.com/stf/2005/us/index.html].† Believe the stars awarded.† Any more than one star is very difficult.† After a few moments of smooth road it was onto the Camphin-en-Pevele, another 4 star section of 1.8km.†
Jarred and muddy from just 2 sections, it was now time for the 5-star (most difficult) Carrefour de líArbre.† BrutalÖ!† The Carrefour is 2.1km in length and very rough cobbles.† I gained a great respect for how the Pros ride these sections after 240 km into the race.
Quickly past the Tavern de líArbre a sharp right hand turn and 400 meters of main road to the cobbles at Gruson (2 star section).† The approach to this Tour de France cobbled section cause concern for the little Spanish climbers. In the jockeying for position just before a crash eliminated Iban Mayo in 2004.†
You canít imagine how hard these cobbled sections are to ride.† I was going 10-12 mph over wet and muddy cobbles with an elevated heart rate.† Even at a slow speed the jarring went through my whole body.
Across the soon to be famous railroad crossing and off to Hem and the next to last cobbled section (1 star)† After the previous section the broken, pot-holed tarmac along the side of the cobbles was a welcome site.† Exiting the cobbles stood a monument to Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper.† Kuiper had broken a wheel at this spot during his solo ride to the P-R victory 1983.
Back at the hotel and the 1 mile 10% climb, I struggled home. Dinner was very good this night.