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  1. #1
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    Tour of Flanders Sportive

    The wife and I are going to be in Belgium in the spring of 2012. A friend that we'll be staying with has suggested that I ride the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) sportive. My understanding is this is the day before the actual race and that 18,000+ people ride it. Our friend that we'll be staying with has an extra bike that I can ride so I'll just need to provide kit, pedals, and shoes.

    Has anyone ever done this? What was your experience? Is there a registration fee (how much) or is it come one, come all? Any insight you can provide would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the links. What I can't find is whether or not I need to register in advance or is it first come, first serve? There doesn't seem to be a site set-up for the 2012 event, either.

  5. #5
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    Just turn up.

    I did it in 2010 and just showed up at the start. 20euro I believe.

    18,000 isn't an overstatement. It was sheer madness at the rest stops. The queues were astonishing. Bring your own food and some cash to buy water along the route.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PG_Gary View Post
    The wife and I are going to be in Belgium in the spring of 2012. A friend that we'll be staying with has suggested that I ride the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) sportive. My understanding is this is the day before the actual race and that 18,000+ people ride it. Our friend that we'll be staying with has an extra bike that I can ride so I'll just need to provide kit, pedals, and shoes.

    Has anyone ever done this? What was your experience? Is there a registration fee (how much) or is it come one, come all? Any insight you can provide would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    The Flanders sportive is simultaneously 1) incredibly crowded, and 2) very safe. There are riders for as far as you can see, especially at the 'choke' points (rest stops and the harder climbs). There are various distance options, no need to do the whole 150 miles because the first 60 are flat/boring. The 90 mile route is a better option, IMO, as it contains ALL the major climbs from the race route and it's long enough to let you know you've been on a ride!

    I wouldn't bother carrying too much of my own food, the rest stops are incredibly well stocked. When you stop anywhere, you MUST take your helmet and anything that can easily be removed from your bike, such as a GPS, with you, or it won't be there when you get back. This was easily the most disappointing thing for me to come to grips with, that somebody would steal your helmet? One of the folks in my group had theirs stolen.

    Unless you're a really strong climber, you will not clean the climb up the Koppenburg. There are just too many people walking and clogging the road, forcing you to weave your way through them and most likely forcing a dismount. Not to worry, every year lots of pros walk it during the race.

    All the other climbs are rideable, and when you reach the top of the Kapelmuur and spot the chapel to your left, it's incredible.

    Long story short, go do it. You will not regret it.

  8. #8
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    Mudge, do you have any advice on when to start the ride? I'm going to do the 90 mile option on your advice, and see that I can start anywhere from 7-10AM. Any thoughts on when to go?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
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    I rode it last year. We had pre-entered, but you can enter on the day before; take a few Euros to buy extra T-shirts..

    We parked up about 2 kms from the official start on the road we headed out on, then rode into the start. We set off as close to 7 am as we could; being a group of 8 men from the NW of England, this involved a considerable amount of swearing and one or two hangovers from beer the night before.

    Take enough food and water to see you past the first feed stop, then we arranged to meet up at the next food stop.

    Once you hit the climbs/cobbles, just keep on keeping on.

    The weather last year was superb; chilly in the morning, getting warmer all day.

    Do it!

  10. #10
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    Oh yes; there was a loop in the route last year, which meant passing through the same point twice.

    Don't make the mistake of taking the first loop twice, like a couple of friends did...

  11. #11
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    orl1,

    Thanks for the input. I'm really looking forward to the ride and will adopt the approach you suggest. I will also try to take it easy the night before, but can't make any promises (T.I.B.: This is Belgium!).

  12. #12
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    Does anyone know how busy the route was if you started early? Does it back up more later in the day, or is it just backed up at the climbs all the time?

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