Team Dynamic ride the 2017 Tour of Flanders Sportive.

Team Dynamic ride the 2017 Tour of Flanders Sportive.

Two incredibly courageous members of our Dynamic Metals team, Company Director Alex Bailey and Strategic Business Development Consultant Paul Smith, recently embarked on an epic adventure to take on the challenge of riding the Tour of Flanders Sportive, a race known to the locals in Belgium as Ronde Van Vlaanderen. Alex and Paul, riding carbon fibre and titanium bikes respectively, joined a group of riders from Corley Cycles in Milton Keynes, including former British Road champion Phil Corley, to take part in a Sportive that attracts a phenomenal 16,000 cyclists of which around 4,000 are from the UK. One of cycling's legendary Spring Classics, the sportive is held the day before the pros fight it out and gives the general public the opportunity to experience riding the infamous cobbles and climbs for themselves. Not for the light-hearted, this battle of endurance requires some serious training and preparation in advance and a positive mental attitude, both of which our boys have in abundance.

The 2017 Sportive took on a slightly different twist compared to previous years with a brand new start location in Antwerp and also with participants having the option to choose between four different routes of varying distances including 74km, 141km, 200km and 237km. Alex, Paul and the team opted for the 141km route with the advantage of it starting and finishing in Oudenaarde and this being the best option to focus on the cobbled bergs that can reach gradients of 25% that have made this challenging race so famous around the world. These climbs are what sets the Tour of Flanders apart from your average UK ascent as the rough terrain of the cobbles beneath the rider makes progress and speed incredibly difficult along with the added obstacle of narrow and winding roads that can create sheer havoc with blocked areas en route causing many a rider to dismount and walk until their path is clear.  

Team Dynamic masterfully negotiated their way around the course taking on the steep climb of the iconic Oude Kwaremont, the almost vertical Koppenberg and the infamous Paterberg. Heads were down and the pace was up on the stretches of flat tarmac and when it came to encountering the brutal cobbles, our chaps dug in deep and managed to successfully glide over them with minimal damage to their bikes and thankfully their limbs. "Riding on cobbles sounds easy, and for the first thirty miles it wasn't bad at all", commented Alex after experiencing this challenging ride for the very first time. "But after sixty miles on bone shaking ground, I can assure you that every part of my body was screaming NO MORE! An amazing experience though and gives you a new level of respect for the professional riders that make it look so easy!" The spectators that had arrived a day early before the professional race to line the streets of Oudenaarde and cheer the many riders on only added to this wonderful and unique experience and created an overall uplifting and celebratory atmosphere. Crossing the finish line to rapturous applause and receiving their well deserved medals to mark this grand occasion, Alex, Paul and the entire group felt a huge sense of achievement and all of us at Dynamic Metals want to thank them for their gargantuan effort and could not be any prouder of our superstar, hardcore, awe-inspiring champion cyclists and colleagues.  

The main event on the following day was won by the Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert of Quick Step Floors after a very impressive long-range attack for victory with a further 55 kilometres still remaining. This risky and arguably a little bit crazy tactic ultimately paid off for Gilbert and now sets him among an illustrious group of riders who have each individually been awarded titles at three separate Monuments. Gilbert's dream of winning all five titles, with only Milan San-Remo and Paris Roubaix outstanding, looks highly likely to now be within his grasp.