hArdennes Recon of Stage 4

Stage 4 Recon : 212 kms / 3400m

Fleche Wallonne route plus some.

Walter joined me for a bit of this ride ( the bit that involved a café stop and a massive piece of carrot cake….!) and explained that he has in fact already done his “Spring training block” which is why he will be going for it on the mountain roads of the Vosges region while we are hitting the Hardennes. He did it the only way Walt can ; by getting out on the road at 4.30am, so that he could do 8 hours on the bike and still get back in time to make meals for the family and collect kids / help them with their exams preparation ! We’re all Wannabe Walters, aren’t we?!!!

Yet again I loved riding one of these stages and covering some roads I hadn’t done in a long time. This stage takes us out of the woods and into a more open landscape shaped by serious farming. The Condroz is fertile, so some famers have got rich over the years. The result is an impressive selection of “farm-castles” which you will spot throughout the day, if you are able to look sideways, and not just down at the tarmac!

After some kms of this open stuff, we get down to the Meuse valley, the one that links Huy to Liege etc. Here we join the final part of the race course and chances are reasonable that we will cross some teams out doing recon work for the pro race the following day.

I’ve changed our route this year so that we get the “Full Triple” : the pro race this year includes doing a circuit three times which includes three of the hardest climbs of the race : Ereffe, Cherave and the Mur itself, of course. We’ll be doing ONE circuit, which will be plenty!

We’ll have three great café spots to choose from, including the great cycling café in Huy, called MUR, for some of their excellent cakes and “power-shakes” that many tasted last year.

Our longest stage so far, but with many nicely rolling sections that will up our average speed nicely. And a lot of local history.

Which just leaves the Luxembourg routes to check out. The best bit!…. Next time.