Cobbles: Thanks Coach

Never rode cobbles in my life before yesterday. Did a summer version of The Ronde. Been on TR two years. Never thought of myself as a smooth wheelman either. Froome is my hero… such grace on the bike much less elbows and knees than me. Anyway I digress. The quadrants exercises in TR really helped yesterday. Before TR I could spin well enough but it usually fell apart under load. When I hit the cobbles yesterday the sheer shock of it had me all over the place for a while. Eventually I worked it out that you had to keep the power down all the time and no let off while you are looking for some imaginary line that will give you some relief. Ass on the saddle at all times too. If you absolutely have to stand do it on the drops to keep CoG low and centered. Then the final piece was to go smooth as glass on the power application. So all those quadrant exercises under load really paid off… So thanks TR.


I’m in Oudennarde all this week. My first time riding in Flanders. Have to say they love a cobble. Even in small towns where they have obviously re-paved the Main Street they use cobbles!! If I had the patience I would do a grading exercise of the different type of cobbles. All I know at the moment is Paterberg are the worst (they are really uphill), and Kwaremont are the best (cafe at midway).

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Indeed Paterberg was quite the experience. Lolliping through the Flandrian countryside you just turn smack into that. A couple of souls were trying to ride the gutter. 20 meters from the top my saddle collapsed. The clamp bolt had shaken loose. Had to restart and ride the last of it standing before fixing it. All good. But I thought the cobbles on Molenberg gave it a run for the money. Haaghoek and Paddestraat made up for their lack of gradient with persistence.

I thought the Koppenberg was worse. Paterberg is shorter and the cobbles are in better condition. Koppenberg cobbles are really uneven, making it a fight to keep control of your bike at low speeds.

Oude Kwaremont’s nice; it’s not all that steep.

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Alas I can’t comment on the bane of Jesper Skibby it wasn’t on this route. Oude Kwaremont was indeed not that bad.

Must admit my experience up Paterberg was probably not … optimal.

I knew it was coming. I knew it was after the next turn. I knew I should not start it in the big ring …

And from here it went downhill.

Between the time I realised I was in the s*** (about a millisecond), and the time spent crunching through the gears (forever) I was red lining…

Not sure really what happened in what sequence but I managed to pull a foot out (sorry, using spd), snap a chain and leave skin on the big ring. All this with an audience. Oh Ah.

So my PB up the Paterberg is 19 minutes give or take but in true Audax fashion I took no outside help. But I did walk about 5 yards to a point I could sit down and do running repairs.

PS. Nobody warns you about the amount of motos out on a sunday drive. Outnumber cyclists 10 to 1.

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