Images by Gerard Brown www.gerardbrown.co.uk
Rolling the Stones!
Riding the cobbles at some point in your career is a right of passage like owing a pair of tubs or riding a time-trial. Just once you owe it to yourself. How hard can it be?
The hard facts are that everything is harder on you and your bike: cornering, braking, accelerating, climbing, riding tempo. Throw in some wind, sleet and rain and the cobbles are a battle-zone. No wonder we call the Trek Domane/Koppenberg The WarHorse!
We have a long-standing fascination with The Cobbles at Cyclefit and we have all spent punishing hours riding them. Here are our own tips for making your journey onto the Holy Stones a magical one. Good luck.
Morgan (The Morganizer) Paris-Roubaix Top-Tips:
1. Get your bike serviced and in A1 condition - Roubaix is punishing. The parcours will find out any weaknesses and faults in both body and bike so get the bike professionally serviced and consider checking saddle and pedals especially. If the saddle is fatigued or cracked then Roubaix will finish it off and same with pedals. Double tape is essential and don’t be a hero. Wear gloves.
2. Wider tyres, 85 PSI- 25’s minimum - Conti GP 4 Seasons were amazing. No punctures all day. In my opinion 1 week old new boots give you the confidence that the tyres will look after you. 28's would be best if you can fit them in!
3. Attack the road sections, survive the cobbled sectors- The sectors are a test of concentration and finding the smoothest line. Avoid the temptation to focus only on going full gas as many people advocate but be tactical, look ahead and focus to stay on best line and negotiate traffic. The road sections are where you are able to attach and make up some time. Go hard.
4. Use the gutter - There is no shame in it. Get in there and enjoy flying past people trying to gain ‘man points.’ It’s not big or clever.
5. Wrap up warm for the start but wear sunscreen - It is usually very cold in the morning at the start so layer up but be prepared to get rid of some layers as the day progresses. If you are really lucky there may be some April sun, it is a long day out on a bike so although it may seem weird on a cold, dark morning to slap on the sunscreen get it done.
6. Do not get tempted to do 100km around Flanders climbs the day before - Rest up and go into the day fresh. A shakedown spin to make sure the bike is set up ok when you arrive the day before is a good idea but no more than this. A beer or two the night before seems to work for me but maybe not for others. Duvel is the drink of choice!