Apologies for the delay in writing this blog I have only just got some resemblance of control in my hands after the 170km Paris Roubaix Challenge.
What a day it was. Probably the most fun I have had on a “velo” ever. The famous cobbles batter you into submission as you progress through the day. The first set are hit with excitement and nerves, by the end you are trying to avoid them by riding in the ruts to the side. We were lucky it was dry and has been for a good few days so the course had dried out completely, in the rain it would have been a nightmare.
The day started at 5:30am with a well organised shuttle bus down to the start in Busigny where coffee and well utilised toilets were provided. We were free to start at any point between 7 and 8 am so there was no mass rush to hit the fist cobble sections.
The highlight of the day was the Trouee d’Arenberg probably the “alpe d’huez” of the Paris Roubaix. The 5 star cobble section was as harsh as it could be on a road bike made worse by the fact that a beautiful smooth path next to the cobbles had been fenced off. Sean Kelly rode this part as we were going through doing an interview to the camera as he went. He made it look easy.
Over the next 130km or so you experience another 18 sections of cobblestone varying from 500 metres up to a tiresome 3.7 kilometres. They come in short sharp bursts and are met with ever louder moans from fellow competitors and a look of relief once you have exited them.
The ride into the Roubaix velodrome finished the day and as you roll onto the circuit you imagine the crowds roaring and shouting your name as you become the latest winner of the Paris Roubaix. Only the best riders in the world will ever experience this, but we can all dream that it was us on that day.