I hadn't thought about it in those terms either before or even after that moment - the Ronde for me was, is and will always be an extension of my slightly (rather?) too intense love affair with the humble cobble and the art of riding a bike over them. Of course we don't have the cobbles of Belgium or Roubaix here in Lancashire, or the UK as a whole. But we do have some extraordinary relics from a bygone Industrial era here in this Eastern corner of the County, as well as some stunning countryside and lanes.
Thinking about it, I don't intend to actually write a blow by blow report (the report that isn't a report) - Saturday's Ronde 2011 will mean so many different things to so many different people but feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Thanks for the thanks! I hope that my efforts not to make this into an 'Event' in a competitive, organised sense have in fact created an 'event' with a small 'e' - something people can look forward to, meet up with new and old friends, chat about, laugh about and experience in their own way.
I can't however thank enough David, Laura, Clare, Cath and Ady from Sportsunday for banter, cake and a great visual record of the day.
And finally, thanks to all that came and rode, some making very long journeys to get there. Hope to see you next year - I can't see how I am going to get away with avoiding running it again......
Check back again soon for a pic dump of further images from the day.