It began as a slow start. Not just the breakfast either, which wasn’t all that until the coffee kicked in. Garmin led us out of Tourcoing through every which-way, I can only imagine, so that we could take in as much northern French / Flemish influenced architecture as possible.
Out on the open-road (or Flemish bike paths) the tail wind took us to Kluisberg. From then it was following the nose to the Oude Kwaremont. Arriving near the top we had already taken in some cobbles. The mist still hadn’t lifted giving an almost heroic quality to the length of the Kwaremont.
The descent began; it is at this point that any weakness in your bike is found out. I was riding fixed, and suddenly, rather unexpectedly found myself able to freewheel. Fearing I’d blown the sprocket I continued to head downhill to take in as much cobbles as possible. The Kwaremont flattens in the middle, so I hopped off to find that my sprocket had only unwound. After a quick bit of mechanics I was back on course. Cadence up, sat far back on the saddle and riding the centre-line of the cobbles. Think you’re Stijn Devolder and you’ll (maybe) ride like him too.
Time to head back for Tourcoing. We took a cut down the Schelder before cutting back to the roads to head into France. The sun managed a welcome return as we ducked and dived through the turns in to town. Not bad for January ride on the cobbles. It won’t be easier in April though.