Marie Antoinette is reported to have said “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (‘Let Them Eat Cake‘), showing her oblivious ignorance to the famine of the breadless poor. Something in this I can relate to in my current lifestyle as stupidly-busy dad / web developer / husband. There was a time many years ago when I went out to ride socially with a bunch of mates nearly every Saturday morning. We’d have little tussles to the top of the climbs, love the views, stop and have a bit of cake every now and again… basically immersed in cafÃ© racing culture.
It’s become a rare treat these days to go out on my road bike and do much else than train or race. It’s just the way it is at this period in my life. It doesn’t break my heart, but when the opportunity does arise, it’s a lovely treat.
Now for a feast
So from a famine of social riding comes along a feast. I can think of no ride any more social and sociable than the Ronde van Oost Lancashire. Alan’s organised it now for its first two years, and it really is a feast of some great gritty northern riding. It does all the stuff. Backroads, Cobbles, Moorland, Ridiculous climbs, Urban grit. More to the point (for me) it seems to be a magnet for a load of really great people. “Most of Twitter” as I seem to have perceived it, turned out and enjoyed, for free, a brilliant tour and each others’ company.
The guys from Sportsunday sports photography kindly provided free cakes galore too, as well as taking some cracking pics.
I even managed to extend the feat of being out on my bike by riding a few miles before and after too. Stunning how my legs gave way though all of a sudden. You can’t suddenly force endurance conditioning onto a pair of sturdy legs that haven’t ridden a long ride in six months (but you can try!)
It’s not Flemish, and there’s no beer or frites, but apart from that, what more could we ask for?!