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Like clockwork, whenever the cobbled classics come around, we’re all guilty of fantasizing about what it would be like to race Gent-Wevelgem or the Tour of Flanders, Belgian toothpaste in our mouths, bodies rattled to their core by ancient stone roads. While most of us can’t compete in those races, we can compete in a new, different kind of cycling competition in Flanders: The Flandrien Challenge.
In this challenge created by Cycling in Flanders, cyclists have 72 hours to complete 59 Strava segments across the famed Flemish bergs and cobbles, like the Oude Kwaremont, the Koppenberg and the Paterberg. Complete the challenge and your name will be engraved on a stone exhibited on the “wall of fame” at the Centrum Ronde Van Vlaanderen in Oudenaarde, the museum of the Tour of Flanders.
For many of us, especially here in the U.S., getting to Flanders might be a little difficult for the foreseeable future, but luckily this challenge, which starts November 16, is ongoing. Whenever you can get to Flanders, the cobbles will be waiting. All you need is a bike, a computer to track your ride on Strava, some fitness and three days to spare in the heartland of cycling.
There is no official route to this challenge. All you need to do is complete all 59 Strava segments in 72 hours. Cycling in Flanders has three suggested routes that will let you hit every segment and take you on an enjoyable ride through the Flemish countryside. But go ahead and customize a different route if you prefer. Until then, get to training, the cobbles await!
For rotes and more info, visit flandrienchallenge.cc.