Paris Roubaix Sportive Trip 2014

Paris Roubaix Sportive Trip 2014

 

2014 Fit In No Time Trip

 

Held every two years (the off-year is for MTB’s and instead of roads you get farm tracks), the VC Roubaix host their sportive, not be confused with the ASO version, with the support of local clubs and organisations. For many it is the true sportive with little hype and the one which sticks to the simple premise of local people inviting all to pay homage to ‘their’ great race- you even get a cobble of your own if you complete the ride.

 

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The Arenberg

 

For us the Paris Roubaix Sportive is an opportunity to experience the drama offered up by an event with true history. Held in June, the first time we rode the sportive it was so hot that we were barbecued on the pave as the stones became solar reflectors in a major heat wave. The next time we rode it was mild and dry, but with rain having fallen the day before, parts of the pave were slick and muddy. Then in 2010, torrential rain fell 15km’s before the Arenberg Forest making that year’s event a brutal edition, whilst in 2012 conditions were very much more benign.

 

The Paris Roubaix pro race, the ‘Hell of the North’, was first run prior to World War One in 1896, but was to find its reputation post-war when the race re-started after the carnage and visited the area made into ‘hell’ by the war. Since then the race has evolved and after a major review many of the pave sections were declared to be of historical and cultural interest to the French nation, and thus saved from the march of tarmac and modernity.

 

2014 Trip
 
The 2014 Paris Roubaix Sportive takes place on the weekend of 7th and 8th June.

 

The Ride
 
The cyclosportive follows a very similar route to the pro race and includes a lap of the famous Roubaix velodrome to finish and the opportunity to shower in the famous Velodrome showers. As in 2012, there are only two starting points this year:

 

The Legend: 210 km long, closely related to the course of the professional race (54 km of paving stones) from BOHAIN-EN-VERMANDOIS (near Saint-Quentin).

 

The Final: 120 km long, for the less well trained (32 km of paving stones) starting in WALLERS-ARENBERG (near Valenciennes). Arrival on the cycle-racing track in ROUBAIX.

 

Both routes are the same from Arenberg onward, so there is potential to meet up with riders doing the other distance and ride the last 120km together.

 

Fit In No Time Trip Details

 
Following pretty much the same as previous years’ trips, travel will be by an executive coach from London on Saturday 7th June, leaving at approximately 10am.
 

From a travelling point of view, there will be two pick up points, from Hampton Court and Folkestone Services. Parking is available at both but note that whilst it’s free at Hampton Court, it has to be paid for at Folkestone. The same two drop off points will be used on the way back. Riders will then stay overnight Saturday in the Formule 1 hotel in Cambrai and eat dinner in a restaurant, included in the price of the trip, near the hotel.
 
On Sunday, the day begins at approximately 6am. Breakfast will be provided on the Sunday morning, and there will be some food and drink available in the support van, plus there is always plenty of free food at each checkpoint on the ride. The coach will stop at each start point in turn. After riding the sportive and recovering at the Roubaix Velodrome, all riders will return to London late Sunday night.

 

During the ride, there will be a back-up vehicle available at most of the checkpoints on route, so that you can collect extra food, clothing and so on as necessary. There will also be limited spare parts available from this vehicle; however, as in previous years, it will be your responsibility to get from whichever start point you choose to the finish at Roubaix velodrome.

 

The cost is £315 per person which includes event entry, travel costs, accommodation, dinner Saturday night, breakfast Sunday morning and the cost of the support van.

 

2012 Paris Roubaix Sportive – Tale of the Pave

 

Looking back post ride I had wondered how I managed to complete the brutal 2010 edition; this 2012 event was tough but not supremely brutal. It was almost normal for this so visceral of rides; simply tough on the mind, body and soul.
 
Pre-race, other than talk about tyre pressures, there was much ruminating as to whether it would rain. The grey clouds had hung low and the local papers foresaw a wet Paris Roubaix, we exchanged dark stories and chose gallows humour to steady the nerves…

 

Like so many best laid plans, I caught a cold in the days prior to the sportive leading to the opting for the shorter 120km route.

 

For me the special moment of a ride is when you take hold of the saddle and push the bike to your start, then it’s game on and the moment when you let slip normal life and engage the hero in yourself.
 

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My ride a Specialized Roubaix

 

John

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