Monday, 5 April 2010

ronde round up

I guess a picture (thanks Dave Powell) of riders pushing up a cobbled climb isn't quite representative of Saturday's ride (though that climb was 'cleaned' by one or more) - there were plenty of ridden cobbles and longer less brutal climbs too. In addition to some deserted lanes and backroads.

However, as the Koppenberg in some ways defines the Tour of Flanders, so too the Packhorse climb out of Hebden town centre dominates the RVOL. Both can bring riders to a standstill and force even the most experienced off their bike. Flanders is not about just the Koppenberg though - it is the unrelenting succession of small but sharp climbs that taken as a whole, give it it's fearsome reputation as a hard ride and race.

The East Lancs version is no different either - whilst only 50 miles, there were many that seemed surprised by the amount of climbing packed into such a short space of time. There are flatter sections, most notably after the hills surrounding Pendle Hill, but bascially the climbing starts early and continues throughout.

It was great to see such a good turnout for the first running of this ride (slightly nerve racking actually) but myself and Mark had signed every twist and turn and were lucky with a lack of missing signs, so that people were able to follow the route in groups and on their own, as necessary.

Already the ride seems to be gathering a reputation as a bike wrecker - there were a number of early mechanicals that forced some back to the car or meant they were chasing hard for a good while. My own mechanical was as final as it was well timed - a completely tacoed rear wheel followed a broken spoke not long before the most vicious descent into Hebden. Cheap Taiwanese carbon and considerable heat from the braking led to a complete delamination and meltdown of the rim. Game over. And a wrecked Open Pave tub which really peeved me......

At this point Dave Haygarth kindly volunteered to ride on ahead and return with the car to pick me up. Whilst he monstered himself over the final hard section of the route to make good time, I bumped into a neighbour who was in town and was kindly offered a lift back. Dave therefore had an early finish and a good workout but not before he had cleaned the Packhorse climb out of Hebden. For this feat and his heroics he is duly awarded:

The Ronde Cobble.........

I gather a couple of others may have also cleaned the climb - Sam included? If you would like to claim your consolation Ronde 'pebble', then please contact me. Otherwise bask in the glory of your achievement and the respect of your fellow riders. Special mention also to Ian from Pendle Cycles who had the temerity to turn up on fixed. We all thought he was mad, but he had the last laugh as he rode away from most of the riders on every climb. Chapeau. (Your're still nuts though).

Big thanks to Duncan and Mark for signage help, Dave H for riding on unnecessarily and everyone for their chat, and friendly comments.

Hope to see more of you all in future.


Mark said...

so the dust has settled on the first RVOL. Chapeau to Alan who for a long time has freted over this ride, will people turn up? what if too many people turn up, what if they don't like the route etc all those that have stepped up to the plate and organised a ride will empathise with Alan.
A busy day signing in miserable weather left us feeling the route was good and hoping the weather was going to be good for us on Saturday. (although Al was secretly hoping for enough rain to create some Lancastrian toothpaste)
What a sight turning into the carpark and seeing bikes being unloaded from so many cars.
Great to see the young guns from Cycle Sport Pendle hitting the front and cranking the pace and Ian proving he is barking by riding a fixed and matching the pace at the front!!
We had sunshine, a great bunch of people riding, a punishing route in fantastic surroundings.
so the big question is, will it be an annual event? I for one hope it will be and we see it grow and develop (a further cobbled climb has been mentioned to Al so I know he will be trying to work it into any future route).
Now to sort all those problems those pesky cobbles found!

John Sutton said...

Family commitments meant that I was unable to ride the inaugural RVOL. What a pity, the photos of the event look fantastic and have really whetted my appetite for having a go at this ride.