“The Belgian Ardennes have been my home and playground for ten years now. I never cease to admire and savour the diversity, intensity and severity of the road network here. It is the PERFECT training area for riding long days in the mountains. From 18% short ramps to 6% 8km steady climbs perfect for painful intervals, the choice is generous.
Cars are few; views are plentiful. Each season is diamond studded. I can return from a Cent Cols in the ‘royal’ Dolomites and still be hungry for these roads.
To share them with small groups makes me feel less selfish. These roads NEED to be ridden. They are waiting for each of us. For ten years now, “hArdennes” groups from the UK and elsewhere have returned stunned (and a little fatigued) by the quality of the riding here. There are of course some better known icons amongst the maze of humble lanes, such as La Redoute, the Stockeu, the Mur d’Huy, to name but three, but when I add the smooth tarmac of the deserted, winding roads of neighbouring Luxembourg to the cocktail, the result can be almost inebriating! Few realise there is such good ‘Alpine’ riding so close to the cliffs of Dover!
This photo-story follows our group of Norwegians this year who came to conquer our region, but instead learnt to respect it! They also learnt how to ride hard but still have time to “look sideways” and above all they learn a lot about themselves. They all want to return!
Phil Deeker, May 2019.
Phil Deeker’s hArdennes trip is an annual eight day riding event covering 1,600 kilometres, with 29,000 metres of vertical ascent, in the Ardennes region of Northern Europe.
Footnote : Phil is still busy with his Cent Cols Challenges, but, starting next year, he is planning to offer several supported group rides from March through to October. Groups will be limited to 8 people maximum.
The ‘hArdennes Calendar’ will include rides for different ability levels, and a women’s event is also planned.