Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Own Ghent-Wevelgem Or Paris-Roubaix

"Burghardt wins Ghent-Wevelgem." Thus the headline in today's It sounds like an exciting race, with much of the excitement being provided by the famed cobbles which accounted for a fair amount of carnage, as VeloNews reports:

"Wednesday's spectacular crashes on the sketchy Kemmelberg cobblestone descent in Ghent-Wevelgem had some critics suggesting the road is too dangerous to be part of the otherwise flat 220km route across western Flanders. More than a dozen riders crashed in two harrowing descents off the narrow, twisting road. Among the victims in the spectacular, high-speed spills were American Tyler Farrar (Cofidis), who broke his kneecap, and Frenchman Jimmy Casper (, who suffered major cuts to his face and nose. But UCI officials said they had no intention of asking organizers to remove the Kemmelberg from the route for 2008. And most riders said Ghent-Wevelgem wouldn't be the same without it.It's a dangerous part of the race, sure, but everyone knows it's there. Do we take the Aremberg out of Paris-Roubaix just because it's dangerous?" said T-Mobile's Roger Hammond, who finished second. "The Kemmelberg is part of Ghent-Wevelgem."

Well the temperature was 35 degrees when I left my house today for my Wednesday ride at 8:15 AM. Who knows, perhaps the very time the riders were cruising over the Kemmelberg? Despite the still chilly temperatures I did a nice ride, 37.4 miles to the Norristown Transportation Center. That's about 4 1/2 miles short of the Valley Forge ride but I'm glad I turned around there. The head wind coming home was really strong and consistent. My time and speed back was much slower and I had to work harder. Another ten miles total would have been a lot.

On my way out I tried again to find the access to the Schuykill trail without taking the Manayunk tow path and again I failed. So I set out gingerly on the tow path and found that it really is very navigable even with the thinner tires on the Fuji and just kept going. Just at the end of the tow path, or actually coming up from River Rd up to the dedicated bike path but still ostensibly on a city street one turns up a steep incline that twists left then right over a cobblestone roadway which I've wanted to photograph since I first rode it, but have never had my camera with me, or I'd run out of batteries or something. Anyway, today I was prepared and coincidentally I returned home to read about the Kemmelberg. Here are a couple of views from the top and the bottom:

Not a bad challenge!

Sadly, it is still not Spring so the chance to take typical Spring-time photos to brighten the mood (though, I must admit it was plenty bright and sunny today) did not materialize. None-the-less there are some pretty views. this one is one of my favorites just down the road from the Philadelphia-Montgomery County line on the Philadelphia side.Enjoy


Gene said...

When I was growing up and going to college in Ohio, it seemed like there were brick streets everywhere. On my bike, I'd avoid them like the plague. Now I'd like to ride some, just for the heck of it, and I can't find any where I live. I guess the pavement is rough enough in places.
Your site is looking good, Ira.

Ira F. Stone said...

Thanks Gene. The cobbles are fun but only for a short time and when dry, at least for me.

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