it sucks there....at least it did when i was last there but man do i miss riding roads like that. fucking awesome.
A few years ago, a business trip took me to Belgium. I had a spare day to kill, so I drove to Roubaix. It took me some time to find the velodrome and I must say, I was less than impressed. The whole experience was like entering a time warp. The weather was gray, the buildings were gray and the entire place left me wondering if it was a mistake to make the trip. It was better in my mind.
The outcome was positive in the end. I parked the car, walked around the track, and stood in various positions in the seating area. I wandered over to the series of buildings adjacent to the area the riders enter the track on race day. An older guy saw me looking around and came out to see if I needed help. Turns out, he was the president of the Roubaix Cycling Club and he spoke english well enough to have a short conversation and take me for a tour. Even the showers were a bit depressing. Let's just say it aint no Freidrich Grohe show room. He liked that I showed a lot of interest, loved the history behind the event and took the time to stop by. He gave me some posters, and a course map showing all the cobble sectors. I spent the remainder of the afternoon flogging the rental car over several sectors of cobbles. I still can't believe the way the top riders float over that shit.
Last edited by WayneJ; 04-05-2012 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Added missing word
Jackpot Wayne. I love old and beat up as the area just wears like an old shirt. Freekin living history. A couple World Wars, hard old miners, factory workers and bike racers. There are some old towns like it in almost any country you go to. I am a huge fan of the old time blue collar and glad I ain't one. Life can be hard, but not as hard as it was back 100 years ago.
I loved every waking moment of my three years in southwestern Belgium (only 7 miles across the border from bother France and a 30-mile ride from the foret d'Arenberg), but it wasn't due to the beauty of the country. Lots of flat, lots of mud, lots of manure. I did love riding there though, you could live out every Spring Classic fantasy you ever had on every ride on the old farm roads between the villages. I loved riding the cobbled stretches but the locals all thought I was nuts riding on those horrible, old cow paths vs. the "nice" paved roads. They all stayed as far as possible from them when on the bike and were happy to meet me at the end as they rode around them. Good times...