the bike nerd honeymoon

Back from the most super awesome vacation ever, and feeling pretty recharged to get back to riding as it warms up. Can't wait for the trails to dry out and get back on the mountain bike, too!

Overall, we were gone for 19 days, rode 550km (mix of cycle-touring, cyclosportives, and smaller group rides), and mostly had the coldest weather I could imagine (just above freezing, but so grateful it didn't rain until our last day!). Our trip could pretty much be be divided into three parts, with plenty of highlights and adventures.

  •  Amazing scenery, with few trees and high of winds
  • Lots of time relaxing in naturally-heated hot tubs
  • Driving the Golden Circle route, to see waterfalls, geysirs, and ponies

Europe & sightseeing
  • Wandering around in Amsterdam
  • Amazing bike paths riding to Rotterdam

Bike race madness
  • Tour of Flanders Sportive
  • watching Tour of Flanders
  • Scheleprijs (I got Fabian Cancellara's autograph!)
  • Paris-Roubaix Challenge
  • Paris-Roubaix live from the velodrome
  • cobbles and hills and general fun on the bike

One of the major highlights was staying at The ChainStay, in Oudenaarde. For a couple of cyclists, we could not have found somewhere that fit for us better during their Spring Classics "Bed Bike & Breakfast". Great food, group rides on most days, a well-stocked beer fridge and staying with a group of like-minded people, all there to take in the bike races. Did I mention the full bike room, the awesome hosts, Gregg and Holly, and being right in the thick of the legendary cobbles and climbs? We also used Airbnb for our first stop in Amsterdam, and our time in Lille - both cases, we had great apartments with tonnes of space. I'll definitely be looking into options through Airbnb for future trips, too!

Other major highlights were also the sportives. Riding part of the courses for these legendary races, one day before the pros, was a dream come true - I've loved Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix for so long, and it was incredible to experience how hard the climbs (even at my non-pro pace!) and how difficult the cobbles are. The Tour of Flanders sportive was awesome, partially because it was so popular - they capped the field for all three distances at 16000 - there were tonnes of people on the roads, always groups to ride with, and lots of crowds watching on the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg. I did the 80km loop, and it was so fun. The Paris-Roubaix Challenge was also fun, with an element of death march to it... I did the medium distance (150km), mostly because I really wanted to do Arenberg. Or, as I put it on the ride, I would either really regret doing Arenberg, or really regret not doing Arenberg... and I went with doing it, because I may never have the chance again! The Paris-Roubaix Challenge was quite a bit smaller, only 2000 riders over 3 distances, so it got a bit lonesome out on the road, and I was definitely glad to have Wes' company for the long day! Riding into the velodrome still felt pretty amazing, but overall it was a pretty tough day. Between the two, I think they are both worth doing if you are interested, but I definitely preferred Flanders, and would totally do it again - even a longer distance. It's great to have the experience of Paris-Roubaix and its sectors off my non-existent bucket list, but not sure I loved it enough to do it over again!


Janet said...

WOW! You guys are awesome! Looks like a really great trip.

Meg said...

Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip! I can't image a honeymoon better designed for you & Ted!