Surely it’s the toughest sportive, the Prudential London perhaps? (Joke). 271k of lumps and bumps. Five Cresties did the full course and five others did the respectable 156km route.
It was grim, freezing. Until the rain stopped to make way for grey sky then sleet. Why oh why?? The length -of a ride like this means self preservation, many of you reading this will have been there before; Feeling good …. but hold back because we still have 100k to go, train of riders comes through so jump on, get to the front but not too near the front, oh go on then… Rummage in pocket for food or gel or whatever. Hanging on, feel I have to do some work because others are, but 80k to go…. Next climb and the group dispurses, another group forms … repeat.
At one stage we were in a group of around 200 riders being drafted along. Then it was up, 20% at times apparently. 8000 riders here all for the same treatment, voluntarily. The pros must think we are mad.
The finish wasn’t glamerous, taking in the less aesthetic views of Liege, but the finish line was a joy. 12 hours of strain and endurance, no sweat because it was so cold.
We watched the pro race on Sunday at Stavelot, the riders breezed (looked like it anyway) up the cobbled climb in their 53 tooth rings, maybe they changed down nearer the top. It was the same climb that we crawled up the previous day so gear and speed comparison was interesting.
It was a great weekend but in a way I’m glad it’s over.
Thanks to Bone for organising and making sure we stayed in the same hotel as the Moviestar, AG2R and FDJ teams.
Riders 271k; Derek, Bone, Rocket, Nelson, Farmer,
Riders 156k; Molar, Todger, Flash, S, Vince.