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Paris-Roubaix or an ordinary Saturday gravel ride?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Paris-Roubaix or an ordinary Saturday gravel ride?

Old 04-19-19, 09:58 AM
  #26  
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Tim, I think you are looking for an objective difficulty measurement that doesn’t factor speed or competition into it.

This is usually not applicable in cycling.

An activity where this is the case is rock climbing. They have a rating system that doesn’t change whether you are a pro, in the sun or blizzard, and you forgot the rope.

Since a major component of cycling is speed and competitiveness, such a system would be utterly useless.
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Old 04-19-19, 10:08 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by JayNYC View Post
I should probably be a little more specific…

I've seen gravel that's worse than cobblestones. I can think of some gravel roads "up country" in Ontario (Northeast of Toronto) that had really coarse gravel that was worse than cobblestones. And when I encounter a patch of loose gravel (recently spread, or which has settled at the bottom of steep hill) I consider that worse than cobblestones (or at least more potential for danger). And IMHO, sand is worse than cobblestones as well. But the average gravel road or gravel trail is pleasant to ride on where cobblestones are always harsh unless you have massive tires.

And I should say my experience with cobblestones is basically just a block here or there in Manhattan (Chelsea, TriBeCa, SoHo have old cobblestone streets), and then large sections of new "decorative" cobblestone in Long Island City. In both cases I just slow down, grin and bear it, and then I'm glad when it's over.
I rode on some Greenwich Village cobbles (I think it was Clarkson St?) last weekend for the first time on my Topstone. I was expecting a bigger difference in comfort compared to my old 23mm tired road bike. It was certainly better, but I would not want to do hours of riding on cobbles even with the 40mm tires I use riding on. Most of the old cobblestone streets down there only go for a few blocks, as far as I can recall, so getting a real endurance experience out of them would be pretty hard, or boring if you're just doing loops of the same two blocks over and over again.
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Old 04-19-19, 10:54 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Tim, I think you are looking for an objective difficulty measurement that doesn’t factor speed or competition into it.

This is usually not applicable in cycling.

An activity where this is the case is rock climbing. They have a rating system that doesn’t change whether you are a pro, in the sun or blizzard, and you forgot the rope.

Since a major component of cycling is speed and competitiveness, such a system would be utterly useless.

You understand my question and I was not aware of the rating system for rock climbing. It makes sense.

Such a system would be just as useful for cyclists, allowing any given individual to compare relative difficulty when making route decisions. One could then ride it at whatever level of intensity they see fit, with a group, without, on a mountain bike or Dogma F10, with or without a rope, etc.

FIETS tried to do this on a smaller scale with cycling climbs.

I'd love to see such a system.

Great post. Thanks!


-Tim-
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Old 04-19-19, 03:41 PM
  #29  
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Northern French Pave is Shaped basaltic stones it's the edges of the roads
that may resemble your typical American unpaved farm road

you will see them in a line just off the edges of the Pave..

In Flemish Belgium they call those paving stones 'Children's heads'

"Koppen" is an abbreviation for cobblestones which in Dutch slang language are called kinderkoppen, or "children's heads".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koppenberg
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Old 04-19-19, 03:48 PM
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Old 04-19-19, 05:27 PM
  #31  
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Yikes!

OK. Yeah. That's not the New York City cobbles I knew growing up.


-Tim-
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Old 04-20-19, 01:30 AM
  #32  
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I live in Paris and last weekend participated in the Rapha "A Day in Hell" ride. a 100km loop around Paris featuring some tough cobbles, gravel, and what felt like cutting through a field on double track too rough for even a tractor. It was one of my favorite days on the bike.

Normally I ride gravel on 40mm Maxxis Ramblers. For this I put on 28mm tires. When we came up to the first segment of cobbles (big chunky ones around Versailles), everyone took the singletrack to the side. For the fun of it, I took the cobbles. It was the hardest thing I've ever ridden. Nothing I've ever encountered on a gravel ride came close. I pushed on for 200-300 meters before my derailuer jammed forward and my chain dropped. It was truly wild.

Kudos to Rapha and Steel Cyclewear for putting on such a fun, free and open event.

So in response. In my experience with cobbles. It is nothing like a gravel ride.

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Old 04-22-19, 07:23 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
a 100km loop around Paris featuring some tough cobbles, gravel, and what felt like cutting through a field on double track too rough for even a tractor.

Normally I ride gravel on 40mm Maxxis Ramblers. For this I put on 28mm tires.
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Old 04-22-19, 07:41 PM
  #34  
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All I have to add is a picture of the three time (2016,2017,2018) world cyclocross champion after Paris-Roubaix this year


Looks tough.
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Old 04-23-19, 02:38 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
For the true Paris-Roubaix experience! Plus the group was fast on the pavement segments between pavé and I was more nervous about keeping up on the pavement than the rough stuff.
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Old 04-23-19, 07:03 AM
  #36  
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On a mixed terrain group like that often it makes more sense to just use what everyone else is using. If everyone's on narrow tires they're not going to go very fast on the rough sections but will speed along on the road. So you end up being able to ride really fast by yourself over the rocks but then get dropped on the road. Or you save energy on the dirt that you end up having to compensate with on the road.
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Old 04-23-19, 08:35 AM
  #37  
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Some activities you can try to simulate: Find some good rumble strips and ride on them for 150 miles. Or maybe a 150 mile long cattle crossing.






Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Next we can talk about whether the pros are crashing on purpose to make it look hard.
Were they Italian?
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Old 04-23-19, 09:27 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Some activities you can try to simulate: Find some good rumble strips and ride on them for 150 miles. Or maybe a 150 mile long cattle crossing.



Not even close. Rumble strips are far too regular.
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Old 04-23-19, 12:31 PM
  #39  
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Not even close. Rumble strips are far too regular.
May be true, but have you done it? Its about as accurate of a simulation as I can think of in the US. Personally in my experience I would rather be on cobbles, but its a close call.
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Old 04-23-19, 01:07 PM
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I think I'm about to block Tim.
Why, because he is respectful of others and says thank you?

That he asks insightful questions, and listens to other people's opinions with an open mind?

Because he says "thank you," or "I may be wrong?"

I think he is a model citizen around here. ;-)
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Old 04-30-19, 10:32 PM
  #41  
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nah hes a dork.
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Old 05-01-19, 12:28 PM
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In 1991, on a long bike tour in Europe one of mt Hosts , a Cycling fan & of Flemish racing history

Took me on a day ride to see the Kemmelberg , a cobbled hill the Ghent Wevelgem runs the race over twice..
On their way back , after going out to the seacoast..




this appears like they had gone over , ir and re set the stones , when I sae it motoetcars had rotated all of them
so as to present a corner rather than the top.. but all that was resolved with workers resetting the stones ,
like they had done for over a hundred years before .. before discovery of Oil..









...
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Old 05-04-19, 02:06 PM
  #43  
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I have ridden scant few gravel roads that beat me up as bad as most of the cobblestone streets I have ridden on. I never ridden a gravel road actually worse.

And doing so on tires and a bike that needs to be mostly optimized for pavement?

Sure, I have ridden surfaces worse than cobblestone, but I am riding a bike made for that.
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Old 05-04-19, 06:45 PM
  #44  
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I don't know.

I should have taken photos of the gravel I was on today. The term "Gravel" doesn't do justice.

Maybe Georgia gravel is different.


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Old 05-04-19, 07:06 PM
  #45  
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In a recent podcast the discussion was about the PR and tire choices. I suspect that the 19mm tyres I ride on the track would survive a couple of blocks of PR,but going up to 40mm would not allow me to ride efficiently on the road portion of the ride. It is a balancing act for tyre size to get a win on that track.
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