“Unforgettable, amazing, awe-inspiring”. Maybe not the words you’d associate with Belgium in March, but these are the quotes from the Forge faithful who rode a wondrous course in stunning spring conditions at the Gent Wevelgem 2022 sportive.
Ahead of the pro event, 14 of Forge’s finest ferried themselves to Kortrijk in Flanders to take on the daunting 226km and 141km course, through Ypres and the Menin Gate, alongside the Commonwealth Cemeteries of Tyne Cot, Kezelberg and Lijssenthoek and up the legendary Classic climbs of the Baneberg and the Kemmelberg.
Virtually traffic-less, the roads zig-zagged across the open farmland of Flanders, with the wind omnipresent to remind the riders how tough this terrain can be.
Over the Baneberg climb and onto the rutted 17% cobblestones of the Kemmelberg, relief was short-lived as the final 25km were into a block headwind. And didn’t we know it. Straining to keep pace, the Forge flotilla finally made the finish line, spent, exhausted but exhilarated.
And some more of those quotes:
“A truly epic day,” Tom W.
“One of the best days on a bike, ever”, Paddy O.
“The hotel has an honesty bar!” Jonny C.
The following day, aching legs were soon forgotten as Forge found a Belgium café for frites, beers and fun before cheering roadside on the Baneberg as Wout van Aert, Tom Piddock and eventual first-time African winner, Biniam Girmay powered up the gradients.
And did we mention the weather? Yes. 17 degrees? Blue skies? Belgium in March is a must.
A massive thank you to all the organisers and drivers for the Forge event but in particular Andrew T and Sue E, who organised and drove the van, found the super nice people at the D Hotel, the top nosh at Biggles Restaurant, the wonderfully eclectic pre event meal at Jane’s Wine and Dine and Peter Sagan for not calling security.