Gone with the Wind in the Flemish Ardennes

by Chikashi

It was a glorious day today, so I went to Oudenaarde to ride the 110 km loop from there to Geraardsbergen and back. A bit of cobbles, a bit of climbing, a ham sandwich on a bench atop the Muur and a beer back in Oudenaarde… Or, so I thought.

I took a wrong turn somewhere around Brakel and cut the loop short by mistake. In exactly half. I was probably having an heated argument in my mind with Mr Rude Headwind when I should have been paying attention to where I was heading.

One of the nice things about this loop is the final approach to Oudenaarde. There is a descent of perhaps about 3 km just when I start thinking, ‘Are we there yet?’ Today, it was a bit different. Just when I was thinking that Geraardsbergen ought to be coming up soon, I noticed that the landscape looked awfully like just outside Oudenaarde. And then, I found myself pedalling down the final descent, which is when I realised that I was back in Oudenaarde. Bugger.

At one point (probably near Brakel), I saw another roadie wobbling, struggling to keep upright with Mrs Angry Crosswind having a go at his very prominent deep-section rims. I chuckled thinking, ‘Yep, really aero…’ In hindsight, I should have minded my own business for had I done so, I may not have taken a wrong turn…