Author Topic: Paris - Roubaix 2018  (Read 3206 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Paris - Roubaix 2018
« on: December 10, 2017, 03:23:56 pm »

So I've just taken the plunge and signed up for the 120km Paris Roubaix sportive on the 10th of June 2018.

Anyone else doing this ride?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 04:30:13 pm »
Not doing it, but did do it a couple of years back and just for fun did full distance option.

Make sure you have comfy tyres and use metal bottle cages so ensure bottles are secure (squash the cage a little). Also, I used a 'proper full length' pump that was secured by Velcro onto the frame. When you hit the pave (cobbles) the whole bike rattles.

Take your wristwatch off. Hold the bars loosely and not tight. Double wrap bars or use some thin foam underneath tape. Hit the pave at speed rather than slow-up. A season of cyclo-cross prepared me well for the unnerving feeling of the bike going all over the place: very different to the on-road experience.

Make sure you go up the centre of the Ardenberg pave rather than up the footpath at the side.

Enjoy the lap of the track at the end. Make sure you use the famous showers and choose your cubicle names after the famous who have won The race.

Buy a cobble with entry fee and display at home.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 08:51:03 pm »

Well I survived! Just.

My first intro to the pavé was the day before the ride when I discovered my route to the hotel involved a 480m sector (Rue de wavrechain). Hitting that at speed, one handed while trying to take a photo was... educational... Had to do it the other way too the next morning to get to the start line at Wallers-Arenberg.

Sign in was simple, noone spoke anything but french, so I had to write my number on a sheet for them to be able to find my pack. I deposited a bag for the bag drop. Then there was nothing left for it. Hit the road.

The short sector I'd done on the way was nothing compared to the first proper sector of the ride.



I tried to ride down the middle of the pavé, but after maybe 50m, I jumped off onto the path at the side. Ye gods.

The route was supposed to have been sign posted, but for the first half or so, sign posts were scarce, I was glad I had the gpx in my wahoo. What followed was stretches of nice French roads, much spent doing 20-25kph on the aero bars (I was the only bike I saw with such a setup). Punctuated with sectors of barbaric brutality. Some sectors had some sort of gutter or edge that was least bad, on these you could do a reasonable speed in reasonable comfort. But other sectors, there was nothing, you're best hope was to hold on for dear life and hope that it ends soon...

My gutter adventures were an interesting experience, I'm not sure Gp4000s ii's were designed for this sort of (ab)use.



A lot of people on the ride seemed to be riding as club groups, infact when I stopped a question I got asked was "what club are you with?"... Apparently the Randoneurs Nederland across the back of my jersey wasn't enough of a give away. Tho I was the only rider from said group there...infact I rode the whole 114k solo.

Alas many of the clubs seemed to be gangs of matcho &$$#&!!*. One group was riding along a bit like a marauding pack. Some of them even had fox tails hanging off their helmets...



They didn't take too well to me cruising past them on the aero bars, barely pedallying. They decided to over take me, then turn right straight across my path, only to realise much to my amusement, that they had made a wrong turn, and catch me up a few minutes later...

Infact a few of the riders seemed to object to being overtaken (tho nowhere near as much as they objected to being undertaken...)

The first control came 5km further down the road than the distances on the route sheet suggested. But it was most welcome. I had a sandwich and a few cups of coke. First proper calorie intake of the day. I'd been too nervous to be able to eat breakfast properly.

Shortly after the control I exited a stretch of pavé to be greated by a fellow rider saying something I didn't understand in french. eventually I understood he was talking about my rear derailure, I looked down and understood why. If you spend too much time in the gutter, you may get vegetation in your running gear... I spent a good 10 mins picking it all out with my leatherman.



Learning my lesson to keep out the shrubbery, I continued on, alternating stretches of decent road with barbaric pavé. By now the sun had come out, and it was turning into good conditions for a ride. But the bone shaking, teeth rattling pavé was starting to take it's toll on the weakest part of the setup. The bit between handlebars and saddle. My forearms were starting to really hurt on every bump. By the time I got to roubaix I needed ice on my left arm to quell the swelling (then slept in my arm warmers as rudimentary compression bandages).

25km from Roubaix I couldn't resist stopping for a nice photo next to one of the monuments I saw.



2-3 sectors from the end, I was following a fellow rider on the left hand gutter, when somehow he managed to lock something, and face plant over the handle bars into the ditch. He seemed ok, a cut on his nose from his glasses frame, and a bit shaken, he was with friends who were looking after him, so I continued on.

The realisation that there is only one stretch of pavé left is second only to the realisation that there is no more pavé left. Alas this close to the end riders were starting to group together, this was by far the busiest bit of pavé, with riders jostling for the smoothest bits on the edges. One rider did not appreciate that I was on his inside when he wanted to move right to a softer line. It's hard to look over your shoulder when shaking around at 20kph. No collision, but swearing in a few languages.



After the pavé was over, it was just the short 7km ride into Roubaix. There was a bit of a climb, and many riders passed me here, with us all bunching together at the lights. I heard italian and french being spoken in these groups. Lights changed, and we had a bit of a bunched sprint through the traffic for the velodrome. I finally got to use my small sprocket at the back, and was really enjoying passing everyone on the aerobars. Which was great, til I turned a corner onto the velodrome... at 32kph... on aerobars... there's a photographer on the inside of the banking taking photos of the riders. No doubt my photo is one of a look of shear terror. This was my first ever experience of riding on a velodrome... it was an education that's for sure!

114.4km done in 7:40. Average moving speed 18.8kph.



After getting my card stamped, picking up my bag, sandwich and a pair of beers. I managed to persuade the first aiders to give me an ice pack for my arm. I got undressed in Greg Van Avermaet, had a very quick very cold shower, and got on the road to the station. I had planned to ride the 26km to Kortrijk station, but my arms were too painful, so I settled on a 9km ride to the first Belgian station, and the 1st of 4 trains home.

It was certainly an interesting experience, and I am glad I've done it. But never again. I have a new found respect for anyone who can race the pavé of Paris Roubaix. But for me. No chance. That crosses the line from type 2 fun into type 3 far to quickly.

Good luck to anyone who tries this ride in future.
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Samuel D

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 09:11:58 pm »
Well done on the ride and write-up! I enjoyed that.

The first time you hit full-fat pavé is indescribable although your “barbaric brutality” gets close.

I’m impressed none of the many things attached to your bicycle fell off. And also that you use your bicycle as transport to and from these events. So many people show up in a car. That’s just not the same for me.

Edit: fixed a typo.

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 09:19:15 pm »
Well done, and thanks for sharing the experience.  :thumbsup:

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 09:23:19 pm »
Well done on the ride and write-up! I enjoyed that.

The first time you hit full-fat pavé is indescribable although your “barbaric brutality” gets close.

I’m impressed none of the many things attached to your bicycle fell off. And also that you use your bicxle as transport to and from these events. So many people show up in a car. That’s just not the same for me.

The advantage of bike packing luggage is it's often designed to be used off road. I had half expected the pack of biscuits bungeed to the rear bag (removed for photo), to have come off, but they stayed put.

I rode down over 2 days. Train to Vlissingen, Ferry across the short bit of water, then 77km to Aalst, crashed a friends sofa, then 113km via the Muur to near the start, hotel for the night, then 7km ride to the start. All in all, 323km over 3 days. with 36km of pavé.

Not only did a lot of people get there by car, they had someone drive round the course, meeting them at the end of various sectors to give them refills of water etc... It felt very weird after doing mostly audax rides.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Samuel D

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 09:31:42 pm »
I rode down over 2 days. Train to Vlissingen, Ferry across the short bit of water, then 77km to Aalst, crashed a friends sofa, then 113km via the Muur to near the start, hotel for the night, then 7km ride to the start. All in all, 323km over 3 days. with 36km of pavé.

Way cool! Sort of thing I’d like to do but haven’t managed to enact yet. I’m at least planning to ride to London soon in one go, which will involve night riding and a ferry, so more adventure than usual for me.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 09:36:24 pm »
I rode down over 2 days. Train to Vlissingen, Ferry across the short bit of water, then 77km to Aalst, crashed a friends sofa, then 113km via the Muur to near the start, hotel for the night, then 7km ride to the start. All in all, 323km over 3 days. with 36km of pavé.

Way cool! Sort of thing I’d like to do but haven’t managed to enact yet. I’m at least planning to ride to London soon in one go, which will involve night riding and a ferry, so more adventure than usual for me.

Nice. where are you starting from?

I've got a couple of Audaxes planned, might see if I can fit in a couple of DIY's too. But I'm mostly training now for my holiday in September. 1500km to hell!

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Samuel D

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 10:19:32 pm »
Nice. where are you starting from?

I've got a couple of Audaxes planned, might see if I can fit in a couple of DIY's too. But I'm mostly training now for my holiday in September. 1500km to hell!

I’m starting from Paris. Not an audax. I’m not sure if audax is for me although I should probably try it before saying that. The freedom of the bicycle is the key thing for me and audax has a lot of rules and bureaucracy. Your upcoming rides sound challenging!

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2018, 07:41:09 am »
much spent doing 20-25kph on the aero bars (I was the only bike I saw with such a setup).

That could be because they’re not allowed, according to the official rules. You seem to have got away with it though!

Anyway, nice write-up, makes me want to give it a go. Well done.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

whosatthewheel

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 08:31:40 am »
I''ve done it twice, the all 200+ km event, but I've never carried so much stuff... it's a very painful day on the bike... it was an itch that I wanted to scratch... I kind of enjoyed it, but there are too many logistics involved in a ride where start and end are so far apart

Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2018, 09:05:37 am »
Well done! I also only did it once! My gf and my dad met me at the feed station and at the end. 27 pave sectors is truly horrific. I had trouble sitting down that evening.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 09:12:32 am »
Well done! good write up... though a lot of it confirms my aversion to 'sportifs' :)
Regards,

Joergen

whosatthewheel

Re: Paris - Roubaix 2018
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 09:19:47 am »
Well done! good write up... though a lot of it confirms my aversion to 'sportifs' :)

As a matter of fact, it is not a sportif, but a "cyclo", which in essence is a randonnee with route card to be stamped at control points, much similar to an Audax but without time restrictions.