I enjoyed riding Paris Roubaix so much!

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Frankie - B
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by Frankie - B

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I enjoyed riding Paris Roubaix so much!

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It all started a few months ago when I colleague of mine, who lives close to Roubaix, asked me if I wanted to ride the challenge as well and enjoy his hospitality. It all started out on a friday afternoon in a bar in the centre of the ancient town of Tournai. A beer and the Belgo French bar game of 421 in which you need to make sure that you are not holding any beer coasters after the last round of throwing the dices.
After dropping of my luggage we went to the velodrome of Roubaix to pick up our numbers and top tube stickers. We had a look in the new and the old velodrome and had a coffee over the the MCC of Rapha. of course i can go into describing the velodrome, but there are people who have done that better then I can.
Over dinner we discussed some alternatives to the 172km route we intended to do. My colleague had tendonitis in his knee and for me it was my first meeting with the Pavé. We decided that it would be the smartest to leave from his place the following morning, and with that have a ride of a 130km. the downside is that the first sector of pave that we would encounter would be the Trouee d’Arenberg. Starting out with one of the worst sections there is probably wasn’t a great idea as you couldn’t get a feel for the cobbles on earlier sectors, but we decided to do it anyhow.

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You can ride Paris Roubaix on a super special cyclo cross meets road bike or a Trek Domane with 30mm FMB tubs, but you can also change a few things on your road bike.
In my case the Reynolds Assault tubeless wheels were swapped for Mavic Aksiums, 25mm Challenge strada clinchers and Challenge latex inner tubes were called upon for grip and keeping-air-in duties. 25mm was all that could fit into my frame, the brake bridge on the seat stays of my bike is placed a bit too low. The Tune bottle cages were swapped for carbon Arundel Mandible cages as those seem to have a vice like grip on bottles. Double bar tape and a normal padded saddle in stead of my AX Lightness Endurance finished things off.

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The Paris Roubaix sportive is high on my list for next year as I’m gravitationally challenged compared to other cyclists. (i weight about 85 kilo’s) so sportive with a lot of climbing are doable for me, but with Roubaix it was so nice to take revenge on all of the skinny climber types who were bouncing all over the place. Lot’s of respect for those guys as for them it much be much harder to keep a decent pace. Paris Roubaix isn’t as crowded as any other sportive I’ve come across.

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Riding over the cobbles was a great adventure in it’s own way. The asphalt and Pavé alternate real nice. When on the Pavé you are completely focused and concentrated on the task ahead. On the Trouee de Arenberg that is getting across in one piece. On most of the other Secteurs it is picking the best possible line and overtaking the people who are enjoying the Pavé at a slower pace at a good enough spot.
The pressure in my tires was 5.5 bar front and 5.8 rear, this was enough and borderline safe as the sound of the edge of a piece of Pavé pushing the tire against the rim was heard quite a few times. the first time you hear it, you are immediately thinking: ‘oh no! I hope i didn’t flat.’ the next time your thoughts are, ‘well, it went right the last time as well’ the third time, you just take it for granted that you don’t flat. Which didn’t happen.

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The last km’s into Roubaix are a bit boring, but once you enter the velodrome all of your sorrows are forgotten

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LionelB
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by LionelB

Good, this is a great experience. Done it twice and want to do it more. Riding riding buddies willing to go up there has proved quite challenging. As a 85kg guy as well I also like the revenge on the cobbles compared to the cols !

MRM
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by MRM

Sweet report! Thanks. :D

jeffy
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by jeffy

great to hear

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by Nefarious86

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Great story! Thanks.
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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

Nice post! Thanks for sharing Frankie!
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LloydP
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by LloydP

Sounds awesome! I was considering that with a couple of mates, but we ended up doing the 158km LBL instead. Next year, maybe...

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Tomstr
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by Tomstr

Thanks for the write-up and the photo's with it. :thumbup:

It's definately on the bucketlist now. First the Ronde van Vlaanderen finale though. :)
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