Although my weekend in Le Nord was centered around the terrible cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, our hosts William and Alex decided that, since most of us were arriving in the early afternoon on Friday, there was enough time for some pavé riding after lunch – a Hellish apéritf, if you will.
So, after a fine lunch of shepherd’s pie and Belgian beer at William’s place in Lille, we loaded up our bikes and gear and drove across the border into Belgium.
The group included 5 or 6 riders from London – all from the same triathlon club. And here they are, with William’s smiling mug in the forefront.
On the left, in the distance, is Kemmelberg, our destination. This famous hill was an important battle site during WWI and still sees its share of fights during the Gent-Wevelgem pro race in the early spring.
The climbs in this area aren’t long, but they still hurt. Here’s one reason.
But it was over quick, and there was more Belgian beer waiting for us on the other side. It helps to dangle the right carrot!
After the ride we went back to their ‘HQ’, a wonderfully-situated, elegantly-designed gîte, not far the Paris-Roubaix route.
In the evening it was tinker time and final prep for the riders doing the cyclosportive the next morning.
Here are Pavé’s Flickr photos from Day One.
Next up: Day Two – Wheels on Hell
4 thoughts on “Weekend in Hell – Day One”
Those cobbles look positively wicked. I would assume that your hands now have their feeling back since you are giving a typed report…or else your wife is assisting you!
Oh…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! These one’s were really pedestrian compared to what’s coming soon. But you’re absolutely right about the hands. They’re still bruised after 4 days.