Last weekend I was in Blegium cycling some of the classic routes.
Absolutely fantastic trip - part of a group tour organised by Scottish brewer Brewdog; taking in some local beer and many of the famous cobbled climbs and sectors.
Highlights of the cycling were the Koppenberg, Oude de Kwaremont and the Paterberg.
The only hill I didn't manage in one go was the Koppenberg. We were only 6km into the ride and it was very damp. I think I was doing well until I reached the 22% section and a couple of guys in front of me were having big wobbles, I went off line to pass and it was all over....Back wheel spun and at that gradient there is no time to recover.
Paterberg was a real challenge, especially as my cleat unclipped just before the steepest part. Somehow a combination of one footed pedalling and pushing with my heel kept me going enought to re-clip.
Cycling in Belgium is incredible. The road layout is designed brilliantly for cyclists. Proper segregated sections along main roads, well marked lanes and priority at junctions and roundabouts in town and the drivers all give plenty space, even stopping to allow cyclists to cross busy roads.
In addition to the cycling we also visited a couple of breweries: Westvelteren (Trappist abbely brewery, beer only available on site) & Struise (modern brewery doing great interpretations of Belgian classic styles).
Beer was amazing and I brought a lot home....
Some pics HERE & HERE