Stage 5 – Ypres to Arenberg
We had a taste of the Paris-Roubaix experience today with the stage travelling over more than 15 km of cobble-stoned roads. When Ali and I cycled the London to Moscow ride back in 1992 we cycled on long stretches of cobbles on our way into Berlin so I thought I knew what to expect. These were something else entirely – imagine the worst, deeply rutted farm track you’ve ever seen. I have absolutely no idea how the professional riders ride at speed over these roads – even at slow speeds you get shaken to pieces. My bicycle chain was bouncing up and down so much that my water bottle ended up covered in chain oil.
Today’s stage took us several hours longer than we expected because we just couldn’t get any sort of speed up over these roads. I was just saying to Martin that it was a good job it wasn’t raining for the cobbles and as we went round the next roundabout my bike slid from under me and I had my first fall of the trip. A smear of Germoline and I was ready to go again – not sure what happened. I think there must have been some oil on the road, (perhaps it dripped off my water bottle?).
My knee seems to be holding up well, but I think it only seems like that because it’s competing with a lot of other aches and pains….