Today sees the first of the Spring Classics, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and tomorrow the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. In just one short month we’ll be at the end of the Spring Classics with the monumental races of the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Paris-Roubaix the week after.
We have a team heading out to Belgium in early April to tackle the Ronde van Vlaanderen – more of that in a few weeks. Today, however, to get my first training in, Alistair and I went out into the Pennines to Nenthead and had a beautiful ride through some sharp hills to Alston. Sunshine, snow showers, and lots of old snow on the hilltops made for a scenic day out. The real objective, however, was the Alston Pavé. The high street in Alston is cobbled and goes up a sharp hill, so should be ideal training for Belgium. We rode into town, chased up the cobbles, then rolled down to find a coffee shop. After refuelling, we rolled to the bottom of the cobbles and did it all again. Sharp, brutal, and a relief to complete the pavé and regain tarmac.
Beyond the pavé the road continued upwards for what seemed like forever, but we knew the real final steep section was crossing over Flinty Fell for the steep drop back into Nenthead. With one false summit, we reached the crest of the hill and raced down the other side. A couple just ahead of us reached the bottom, and there was a loud bang as one of their overheated rims caused an inner tube to explode – it was that steep!
Good day out, and off to Penrith tomorrow to ride the Eden Valley Epic.
(Photos courtesy of Alistair)