Thursday, July 25, 2024

Living in the Heart of Flanders!


HomeJournalsTeam Wiggins Pro Dan PattenLiving in the Heart of Flanders!

The things that can happen in the space of a week when you’re living in the heart of Flanders. As mentioned in the last blog post I happened to meet Kurt Asle Arvesen on a ride and had a nice spin and chat with him. A couple of days later I was in the Asfra bike shop when fellow Norwegian and Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen walked in on his way out training.

Again I got to have a little chat with Edvald and like Kurt was a thoroughly nice guy too… seems to be a common trait with these Norwegian Team Sky riders!

Heart of Flanders
Edvald and me at the bike shop.

We happened to be treated to a stage finish of the Three days of de Panne here in Oudenaarde, which was great but was merely a warm up to what was to come at the end of the week – the Ronde van Vlaanderen!

A great experience to be here and see the race live… it really is a special day of the year here in Belgium. The atmosphere had been building in and around Oudenaarde with more and more cyclists about as the Ronde drew closer.

Heart of Flanders
I was pretty close to the action on the bergs.

However the day it self was something special: every town welcomes the passing of the race, every berg every pave section is packed full of cheering spectators (clearly aided by the flowing beer) and traffic is left at a stand still as the race passes and the spectators dart from one location to the next.

Clearly the bike was the best mode of transport for getting about to see the race and also had the added benefit of being cheered by all the fans as you pass.

A very special atmosphere indeed for this monument and hopefully something I will get to experience for myself in the future.

Living in Oudenaarde means easy access to the RVV route and so anyday of the week I can ride the Bergs and pave sections that make the race so special – I like to think Im building the ‘local knowledge’ for the future in doing so 🙂

Heart of Flanders
Unfortunately, there’s no crowds like this when I train on these cobbles!

Of course I have also had my own races in this time.

I put together 3 kermesses within six days to use as a good little block of races/training. Some very wet and windy Belgium weather experienced in Herne and Anzegem but consistent placings of 17th and 16th.

Heart of Flanders
Using the races for training means I don’t get too fussed over the actual result.

Anzegem I took the bunch sprint leading out the sprint early, some consolation after missing out on the lead group when the race split after 10km following a mass pile up in the bunch.

I would also place 31st in Schepdaal. Nothing spectacular in terms of results but some more racing km’s in the legs, which I’ll be the better for.

Until next time…