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Belgium in Lancashire

Ronde Van Oost Lancashire, March 31st.

The Ronde Van Oost Lancashire (RVOL) is a little slice of Belgian riding – lanes, cobbles, cake (not waffles) and craic all mixed together.

Starting and finishing in Barrowford, near Nelson, it tours around some of the more esoteric corners of East Lancashire. It always runs on the same weekend as the Tour of Flanders, this year’s edition being 31 March. It is ‘only’ 50 miles, though many have commented on it as being the hardest 50 they have done, mainly due to the multiple short, sharp climbs and tough surfaces. Oh and the wind, which is ever present in this part of the world.

Here's co-organiser and Planet X rider Alan "Crossjunkie" Dorrington to explain...

"The idea originally came from the collection of cobbled climbs and roads I had sought out when training a few years back for the mindbogglingly busy Tour of Flanders sportive (18,000 riders each year). The iconic cobbled climbs of Belgium can be nicely replicated in East Lancashire, as can the inclement weather, and it made sense to put all the sections together into a ride that celebrates some of the Flanders experience, with a dose of fairly wild Lancashire countryside thrown in for good measure.

"The ride is not a sportive in any sense – it is a free, social ride amongst friends, largely publicised through word of mouth and a bit of social networking. That said, there were 70 riders at its second running last year, and we managed to put on an awesome cake stop courtesy of some local endurance sport photographers, SportSunday.

"I hope to continue running it each year, but retaining the social feel of the event even with the growing numbers, which this year are likely to top 100. Some of the nadgery bits of the route are signed on the day, but it follows the old school Audax principle of getting yourself round under your own directions, though many will have ridden before and know their way around."

A full route description and cue sheet can be found here.

There's no official website (yet) but final details and information will be on Crossjunkie's blog in the week before the event.

Teaser film here: http://youtu.be/8DH5dAowkEI

20 March 2012