Londoners got a taste from the 'hors-d'oeuvre' menu of cycling on Saturday night, experiencing the fantastic atmosphere that the upcoming Tour de France will produce when they turned up in the thousands to witness the first ever Smithfield Nocturne night-time pro criterium.
Stumptown. The River City. Bridge Town. These are all names for what some call the finest cycling city in the United States: Portland, Oregon. While the state itself plays host to “Cycle Oregon” – a week long adventure to wow riders of all skill levels with rides like Bridge Pedal, Worst Day of the Year Ride and many others, the crown jewel city of the state, Portland, is one fine town in which to ride your bike.
It's just gone 2.00 am and we've had to abandon the tent and crawl into the mini-bus, the water in the plastic one gallon containers has frozen solid - Alaska? Welcome to Mount Ventoux, Provence, France; 12 hours later the sun feels like a blow lamp playing on your skin. It's the 1987 Tour de France and there's everything to play for - let's go back a smooth 20 years and enjoy the action anew.
The thing about the Flиche Wallonne parcours that surprised me most was just how hard this 200km ‘semi-Classic’ is. There’s nothing ‘semi’ about it… This hard course deserves the prime time and throws up 11 rated climbs, including 3 passes over a 1300 meter brute called the Mur. Here’s how it happened to me…
Like many cyclists my opportunities to get out on the bike are subtly balanced with the demands of family, work, and my complete inability to convince my better half that by going out for five hour bike rides instead of completing the decorating I started a year ago it's actually beneficial all round - enabling her to change her mind yet again on the colour scheme.
It was a day of historic – and epic – proportions. We’d journeyed far, across continents, oceans, and the toughest roads in Europe, to arrive at the route for Sunday’s Hell of the North – Paris-Roubaix. Me and my butt found out first hand what it’s like to ride the “pave”.