Top Ride: The culmination of my visit to Holy Week was the long anticipated, much feared, and never completed ride across the parcours of Paris-Roubaix. Finally I learned what it was like to battle the toughest roads in northern France and earn my own lap of honour at the Roubaix velodrome.
It was a day of historic – and epic – proportions. We’ve 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 “pavé”.
It’s 1:30 AM, Belgium time, we just got the power restored after I plugged one too many cords into the hotel’s electrical outlets. BAM! Hotel blackout... courtesy of PEZ. But what a day it’s been – we rode on the Flanders’ route, and it was “TOP RIDE” material for sure. Here are the pics…
TOP RIDE: My one ascent and descent of the mighty Col du Tourmalet remain a vivid memory - even some 16 years later. So when Allan Reeves of France From Inside Tours sent me a video of him riding the full descent of the Tourmalet's west side, I knew it was time to dig into the vault and relive my own day riding over the highest paved pass in the Pyrenees.
VIDEO: It took me a few tries to get it right, but now Milan is one of my favorite cities. Over the years I've honed this mini tour to get my dose of Italy's fashion & industrial capital - which usually happens after a long flight when getting out there is the best way to power through the jetlag and soak in the culture, vibe, and negronis - of this vibrant city.
One of the best reasons for choosing a good bike hotel is their skill to show me the best their region has to offer - like routes, rides, food & drink that I simply could not find on my own. This ride (and subsequent wine tasting) never would have have happened without my guide from Garda Bike Hotel leading me on a relaxed ride through the hills of valpolicella and an even more relaxed stop at the Santa Maria Valverde winery.
Travel: Stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France will climb the mighty Col du Galibier at 2645 meters altitude. I "rode" it back in 2017 - maybe better to say I hauled my carcass up it. Here's a glimpse of the climb as I get inside 3km to the summit. It really is epic and awe inspiring - a must do.
What have we learned from this year's Giro? Well, Italy has it all and should be on everyones ride bucket list, but maybe riding with Italians has different rules than other cultures. Corey Sar Fox takes us on one of his old winter routes that becomes something memorable when a stranger comes along. Usually you go looking for Top Rides, but sometimes they can find you.