The Ronde van Oost Lancashire had its 3rd running on Saturday 31 March. Co-organiser and Planet X-powered pedlar Alan 'Croosjunkie' Dorrington reports...
"This being Lancashire we managed to conjure up a few local treats - cobbles of course, pies from legendary local producers Haffners, dry wit, errant pigeons and a ferret on a lead.
"Just shy of a hundred riders set out from Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford, all making it back in various states of preservation and all experiencing the finest leg-burning back lanes and cobbled climbs that Lancashire (and shh... Calderdale) could offer.
"'Only' 50 miles, the Ronde or RVOL, made itself known to legs and stomachs with its unique combination of serious riding and serious eating as well as some good old fashioned chat. Leaving racing or chasing times aside, RVOL is about riding with mates, or those about to become mates, in great countryside and with the mother of all cake and pie stops.
"Planet X team rider Dave Haygarth set aside tearing it up for the day and rode with his brother and an old friend, something they hadn't done for 38 years. Other riders travelled from Merseyside and even Wales, presumably lured by the free food.
"In fact the cake stop, provided free by photographers SportSunday and cunningly positioned at the top of the heinous cobbled climbs out of Hebden and through Heptonstall, has been the scene of many spirited sprints to gain position in the queue. This year was no exception, as one Yorkshireman, enthused by the thought of his free cake almost took out one of the SportSunday photographers stationed on the run in to snap the riders.
"The Ronde is pitched as an antidote to highly organised and, for some, perhaps overly-commercial sportives. The route is signed but subtly so, so there were some good tales of turns missed and interesting route variations. Hopefully all enjoyed laid back, do-your-own-thing nature though and for the third year running the weather was kind.
"For me, it's a great warm up to Flanders weekend, with many being glued to TVs and PCs the following day for the real deal in Belgium. Untill next year..."
More info and photos and reports will be appearing on the Alan's Blog this week no doubt.
2 April 2012