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The Ardennes Classics

The Spring classics are well underway.  Paris – Roubaix a week ago was the last of the Cobbled Classics for 2013.  The Brabantse Pijl race two days ago marks the transition from the races featuring short sharp climbs on cobbles to the longer paved climbs of the Ardennes Classics.  This weekend will see the 48th running of the Amstel Gold Race.

AGR 2012 Logo

A group of my Not Possibles friends are again riding in the tour version of the Amstel Gold this year.  I rode the 2012 version with them.  We had a lot of fun, despite the cold and sometimes wet day.

We had an 8.25 am start from the Amstel Gold Xperience building in Valkenburg.  I am a tropical boy.  I was bundled up.  Uffe is Danish.  He saw no need for a beanie hat, long-fingered gloves, a jacket, leggings and shoe covers.

AGR 2012 082255 hires

We chose the 150km / 93mi route, with about 2,400 meters / 7,900 feet of climbing.  I remember the steep ones.  The Keutenberg has a maximum pitch of 17%.  As does the Gulpenerberg.  The Eyserbosweg has a maximum pitch of 15%.  Compared to those walls, the likes of the Loorberg at 8% and the Bemelerberg at 7% maximum pitch were mere speed bumps.

Richard and I were on the Fromberg about seven hours after we started.  At 9% maximum this was a warm-up for the big one to come.

AGR 2012 153705 hires

Which rose up before us fifteen minutes later in the form of the Keutenberg.

AGR 2012 155157 hires

Richard and I got to the finish exactly eight hours after we started.  Just in time to collect our finisher’s medals and get back to our hotels before it started to rain again.

AGR 2012 Medal

Richard had driven from his hotel to Valkenberg.  So he went to retrieve his car from the field where he had left it.  I had ridden from my hotel to the start.

Which I regretted when the heavens opened on the ride back to the hotel.  I got lost to boot, so I was soaked to the skin by the time I found my way back to the Golden Tulip Apple Park Maastricht hotel.  The locals must be used to that sort of weather.  The staff at the front desk didn’t bat an eye as I dripped across the lobby and into the lift.  With my filthy bike.

I  would do it all again in a heartbeat.

About alchemyrider

I left Malaysia in 2008 as a non-cyclist. I am back home now with three road bikes and all the paraphernalia that goes with being addicted to cycling.

3 responses »

  1. will miss you this year. it’s predicted to be warm (that is, 20c) on Sunday. Not Saturday though.

  2. Complimenti, questo post ha davvero stimolato il mio interesse.

  3. Pingback: Small Chainring + Biggest Cog | Old Roots, New Routes

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