At the beginning of the month Matt and I visited Belgium exploring the beautiful cities of Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. Now I’ve recently learnt that the only way to get Matt on holiday is through cycling (who knew?) so on Sunday 3rd April we enjoyed the sun, drank beer and cheered on the cyclists at the famous Tour of Flanders otherwise known as Ronde Van Vlaanderen and it was AWESOME.
The one day road cycling race tests the ability of world class cyclists both male and female on a route famous for it’s steep hills and cobbles. If you’d like to find out more about the race you can read my guide for beginner’s here.
The day began with an early train from Ghent to Oudenaarde where the men’s race finished and the women’s race began and finished. As we were early we managed to get up close to the bikes and see the female racers begin to warm up on the roads.
But of course the best thing about being early was seeing local Yorkshire girl and current road cycling world champion Lizzie Armistead! LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS.
After all the excitement we took a rather squished free shuttle bus ride to the Kwaremont located about a 30 minutes drive away from Oudenaarde. An extremely popular place to view the race from – Oude Kwaremont is one of the most famous sectors of the Tour of Flanders. At 2.2 km long and with a gradient of 11% this is the first cobbled climb of the race and the men go up it 3 times! Making it one of the best places to catch all the action.
We arrived on site at 11:30am and entering the fan area honestly resembled Glastonbury! The sun was shining, music was blaring, screens were up, people were chatting and laughing in tents, food & drink vendors surrounded the field and of course there was lots of MUD.
Incase you didn’t know – cycling is a bit of a big deal in Belgium. It was absolutely amazing to see the amount of effort which was put in to making the site a true experience for the fans with a great fun and family friendly atmosphere. The free shuttle buses and free entry truly meant it was accessible to all and a company was even giving out free seats for everyone – cracking idea.
We obviously bagged a prime spot by the railings and got ourselves ready with a Kwaremont on the Kwaremont. How fitting….
Front row seats meant we had a great view of the cyclists passing by and were also right by a screen so we could follow the race all the way through. First to come past were the men closely followed by the women, fan riders and then the men again! Although the most exciting part for me was seeing the guys from GCN. Well done lads!
The crowd was huge and the atmosphere buzzing. Whether you’re a keen cyclist or not there’s nothing quite like being there in the heart of the action, beats the sofa right?