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2013 Retro Ronde

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2013 Retro Ronde

Old 05-31-13, 02:48 PM
  #1  
poprad
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2013 Retro Ronde

So, I went and finally rode the famed Cobbles of Flanders last weekend in the awesome Retro Ronde event.

Thanks to StevenC who provided some great advice both before and during the ride (FLOAT over the cobbles!....right...) and a great meetup with CMAW who was also in attendance.

The arrival day of Saturday saw a great, if small, vintage parts market and general bike-geek gathering of the tribes. You could smell the moustache wax and proofide in the air, wafting over the odor of Broodjes and brown beer. Oudenaarde is a nice little town, boasting a few really awesome restaurants who all provide fine abbey ales and rich lamb stew accompanied by piles of frites. Nothing like "carbo loading" with such fare the night before a hard ride!

Sunday dawned overcast and a bit cool; perfect riding weather. I don't think we saw a drop of rain all day. Steven was nice enough to give me some cobble-coping strategies, but I don't think I ever got the hang of the "cobble float", and by mid-course my fillings felt like they were coming loose! Still, even with the cobbles we had a great event day. I managed one off-course jaunt onto the 70k course by mistake, but found myself back in the group before too long.

The short, steep cobbled hills are a real experience to ride, and overall I'd say the Retro Ronde is a fine companion piece to L'Eroica. Smaller (which is a benefit in many ways), but just as culturally unique and physically challenging. The food is aweome, the people warm and wonderful, and Flanders will be a ride destination for me again very soon. Do it, you won't regret it!

We stayed in a small B&B right on top of the Kwaremont, one of the featured hills:

[IMG][/IMG]

Where I found this great sign:

[IMG][/IMG]

A couple of bikes pre-ride:

[IMG][/IMG]

This one is StevenC's, geared more for flats but he powered up the rampes like they were smooth pavement:

[IMG][/IMG]

The start lineup for the 100k:

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The good padre handing out blessings for smooth riding and stamping our pass books:

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Queued up for the fine tomato soup, a blseeing on this fairly cool afternoon:

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One rider dressed to the 9's:

[IMG][/IMG]

A beauty at rest while her rider re-fuels:

[IMG][/IMG]

Continued, over the limit on pics!
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Old 05-31-13, 02:56 PM
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The course continued through a gorgeous tree-lined private lane, which belied the ankle-deep gravel to come!

[IMG][/IMG]

And then past this wonderful estate:

[IMG][/IMG]

We re-connected with CMAW as he was happily at work replacing his tuby:

[IMG][/IMG]

As the hardy riders continued onto less-friendly terrain:

[IMG][/IMG]

Which was more suited in places for a VTT (mountain bike):

[IMG][/IMG]

But we soon passed through someopone's occupied barn:

[IMG][/IMG]

And found a quaint little rest stop:

[IMG][/IMG]

WHich provided some liquid courage:

[IMG][/IMG]

Before heading back out for more open terrain and even more hills:

[IMG][/IMG]

Continued!
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Old 05-31-13, 03:04 PM
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wow, looks amazing.
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Old 05-31-13, 03:06 PM
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If you ever see THIS sign be afraid...be very afraid! And shift now, it means STEEP hill:

[IMG][/IMG]

These guys provided a bluesy backdrop to my discovery that my front derailleur cage bolt had vibrated loose, making front shifts wonky at best:

[IMG][/IMG]

So I said a quick prayer at this roadside shrine to ask the velo gods for sympathy:

[IMG][/IMG]

And finally made it back to Oudenaarde:

[IMG][/IMG]

For the post-ride festivities:

[IMG][/IMG]

And two riders finished the course, although the thinner and happier one much ahead of the better-looking but slower dude in brown:

[IMG][/IMG]

So, that's my little photo-essay. It doesn't do this great event justice, but I hope it motivates a few of you to come on over and join up next May. Staying in Flanders is inexpensive and we had a blast. Afterwards we visited the Ypres WWI battlefields and spent Memorial Day morning at the Flander's Field American Cemetery, where 368 U.S. soldiers are buried. It's a very interesting region and full of history...and really, really good beer.
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Old 05-31-13, 03:10 PM
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And in case I forgot to mention it...the cobbles are NO JOKE!

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 05-31-13, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the write-up, poprad. I'm even more sorry now that I couldn't make it. Glad you guys enjoyed it, though.
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Old 05-31-13, 03:40 PM
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Fantastic report!

Looks like my kind of ride.
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Old 05-31-13, 04:54 PM
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Thank you Poprad for bringin' back that lovin' feelin'!

I had a blast there last weekend with the hundreds and hundreds of C&V riders and beautiful route the organisers had planned out for us. Probably the most fun I've had with a bike between the legs.

I'll be back next year for sure
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Old 05-31-13, 05:46 PM
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Awesome pics and write-up! Looks like a fantastic event. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-31-13, 07:26 PM
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Another one to put on my 'someday to ride" list. That's really cool Poprad.
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Old 05-31-13, 10:50 PM
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What are the rules for equipment?

Sounds like a stone blast.
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Old 05-31-13, 11:29 PM
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WOW! Jealousy is a cruel mistress... The question is, can I budget this in for next year?

Looks awesome and thanks for the write up!
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Old 05-31-13, 11:55 PM
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You've really captured it, Poprad, great pics and write-up. Oh and try Simplex derailers next time!

More pics for those who can't get enough:
https://www.retroronde.be/nl/168-retr...ry/2013-zondag
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Old 06-01-13, 05:52 AM
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Thanks for the report and the pics, really cool. Too bad I couldn't meet you guys there... Next year, I'll be there!
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