Hey all, here's a short report on the Liege Bastogne Liege cyclo which I did this weekend.
-Girlfriend's brothers asked me on Friday if I fancied coming along for the
short 85km version of this cyclo. Didn't have much else on, so why not?
Had to get to the start by 10:00, so not a burtally early start, and it looked like it would be a gorgeous day.
-If Liege has a beautiful side, the organisers weren't bothered about letting us see it. The start was in an old army camp and the run up to the official start took us past the enormous rusting factories alongside the river.
-There is a long but gentle climb from the official start in Chaudfontaine, a pleasant warm up for the heavier stuff to come.
-First up for us was the Cote De La Redoute. A rather uninspiring run up, running alongside a motorway. However, the gentle run up was lined with motorhomes and a lot of people encouraged us as we approached the hard bits of this climb. La Redoute is brutal because of the two steep sections - you get one out of the way, then turn a corner and then there's another. Get a spectacular view of the countryside at the top. And two lads handing out horrible, horrible tasting sport gels.
-Next major climb was the Cote De La Roche Aux Faucons. Officially, this is supposed to be 1.5km, but it seemed to keep climbing after the finish point and there's a longish false flat to keep you suffering.
-Final climb is the Cote De Saint Nicolas in Liege itself. This takes you through the Belgian equivalent of Toxteth. Not the prettiest climb in cycling. However, while I was a bit apprehensive about the urchins running around the street ("mind your bike, mister?"), this turns out to be the Italian immigrant neighbourhood, and the locals were thus very enthusiastic and encouraging.
-After this climb, there's a long and quite steep false flat into the finish, again the atmoshpere was great, with a few people watching and cheering us on.
This is a very different experience from Flemish cycling, which mostly seems to involve flat sections between hills that stick up in lumps from the landscape.
I'd recommend this route for anyone who happens to be over. You could make a very pleasant weekend out of doing (part of) the RVV or Paris Roubaix one day and then heading down to Wallonia for this the next. Would only take a couple of hours or so to drive down to Wallonia.
Photos may appear on the LBL cyclo website, I'll post a link when they do if anyone's interested.