The digs in Spa had one room with three single beds squeezed in which didn’t make for the best night’s sleep for me. I do find it difficult to sleep when someone is continually try to start a chainsaw in the same room ?
Still we had had a few Belgian beers and a good pizza in the evening so it wasn’t all bad. Today looked like being another toughie with over 100 km to go and the hills of the Eifel area in the way.
There was a longer flatter route to the North via Duren, which had the advantage of passing several railway stations and not using cycle paths through the Eifel of unknown quality (dotted lines on our maps which generally mean unsurfaced so no good for Ewan’s narrow tyres, although sometimes when you get there a dotted line turns out to be smooth tarmac and a solid line is a cart track)
Much debate ensued and eventually we decided on the northern route. We reckoned we could shave a few k off by using more main roads to cut some corners, but still coming out at over 110km with some serious climbs crossing river valleys before hitting the plains.
An early start was called for and we were on our way by 08:15.
To cut to the chase, cos I’m writing this on Saturday morning and we need to get off to meet the mass cycle ride – we blooming well did it ???
The day started with a really tough long climb out of Spa onto the plateau. Then heading north east and crossing two river valleys slicing through the plain, each involving a good descent and a further tough long climb.
Second breakfast was taken in Dolhain after a look at some serious Pave in the historic preserved town of Limbourg. We had to get off and push down the main street even before we got to the one in four section at the bottom.
Dolhain featured another nasty climb out to negate the effects of coffee and pastries. Each peak was now getting less than the previous one, but that didn’t seem to make the climb any easier.
We crossed the nearly invisible border and things were getting better but the Germans do like to have some cobbles in their medieval central streets and the town of Stolberg must have bought a bulk load as they had spread them all the way up the final hill we took on a little road past the castle and out of town. It was only 120m of climb but a steady 10%on the pave gave us some insight into how bad the Paris-Roublaix must be.
Full details and 2 days worth of photos to follow. We are now poised 22km from Bonn…
The summary was 108km covered in 6hrs 40mins in the saddle so a rolling average of 16.2km/hr. Max speed clocked 51.1km/hr – as well as three tough climbs we did get a couple of good descents. After the first 3hrs riding we had only covered 42km and it was already 13:30 so it was looking impossible but once on the flat we picked up speed and were in by 17:40.