I’ve visited a number of cycle races over the years, but never the Paris – Roubaix. It’s one of the spring one day classics, over a duration this year of 259km – 53 of which were on cobbles! Ow!
So, a short ride from Lille saw us in the small town of Orchies, and after a walk we were at ‘Secteur 12’ – a 1.7km stretch, graded difficulty 3 out of 5. To get a good spot, we were there a couple of hours early and then waited. Just over the cobbled road, the local town council had set up a refreshment area with some rather good local beer on sale!
Soon, the caravane came past, throwing their usual collection of tat publicity gifts to the masses. Unfortunately, things then started to get busy. Our ‘good spot’ gradually got worse until we were crammed in with quite a few other folk. The riders came past in their usual blur, but as is the nature of this type of race, they were well spaced out with the rear most ones the best part of half an hour behind.
By this time, Jem had already popped across the road into the beer tent to secure a good seat to watch the rest of the race on the giant screen in there. Judging by the volume of cheers in there, I assume most of the spectators were Belgian when they showed Tom Boonen break away and then go on to win the race!
It was a great day out – might have to pop it into next year’s diary…