Allies Day 17 Ypres to Oudenaarde July 7

Today’s ride was 100.8km and 601 vertical metres with some of the extra loop and the temperature hit 30 C. Coffee was in Moorsele and lunch was in Knokke by the road under some shady trees. We had one flat tyre but otherwise, it was a pretty straightforward day. We also welcomed our new Stage 2 rider Tyler ‘Tinker’.

We said goodbye to Kenny, Bob, Fergie and Liz and Russell this morning ???? and began our Stage 2 ride towards the Rhine.

Our new kits
Our amazing American friend Bob

Our ride was relatively flat, or as the iconic Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel used to sing, “le plat pays doté de cathédral pour uniques montagnes” which means the flat country (referring to Flanders) where the only mountains are the cathedrals. We rode through the Flemish countryside on secondary roads or bike paths where the highest points were the bell towers from the churches which can be found in every village or small hamlet. Our final stretch into Oudenaarde was mostly on bike paths and back roads, but beware of the cobblestones, as we are in the land of the legendary Tour of Flanders, where cobbles are part of the biking experience! 

We were going to ride through the Menin Gate but were unable to because of the renovations. We also made our way out of the city past a very innocuous roundabout which during the war was known as Hellfire Corner

Hellfire Corner was a Road Junction where the main supplies for the British Army this sector passed along the road from Ypres to Menin – the famous Menin Road. A section of the road was where the Sint-Jaand the Ypres-Roulers (Roeselare) railway (line 64) crossed the road. The German Army positions overlooked this spot and their guns were registered upon it so that movement through this junction was perilous, making it the most dangerous place in the sector.

We then rode up to Sanctuary Wood and Hill 62 to visit the Canadian memorial. They lost and then retook this strategic position overlooking Ypres at great cost in mid-1916.

Whoever held Hill, 62, had a commanding view of Ypres and Hellfire Corner
sanctuary wood cemetery

We also rode past Polygon Wood, the site of another famous battle in 1917. Were several memorials to Victoria Cross winners along the road.

polygon wood and old pillboxes

Leaving the salient, we moved into a rolling open country, full of various crops and very fertile land. It was pretty much crop fields and villages all the way to Oudenaarede

The flat tyre became quite an affair, especially for photo opportunities.

By Cher

After a well-earned break, Max and I went and rode the Oude Kwaremont cobbled climb. It was pretty tough on the cobbles and I must admit I used some E-bike help for this one, but the heart rate still climbed to 153 bpm. The trip plan says:

Oude Kwaremont – this is a 2.5 km semi-cobbled climb at an average gradient of 3% with a maximum of 11%. It is also one of the most famous Flemish hills because it is often ridden three times during the Tour of Flanders so it is seen more than most climbs on television. The Oude Kwaremont climb is not the steepest of climbs, but the third ascent is strategically placed towards the end of the race

Dinner was at a lovely outdoor restaurant in the town square which was buzzing with a festival celebrating the founding of the city.

The Town Hall

In Flamboyant Gothic style yet showing hints of Baroque, this building dominating its vast square is charming on account of its lightness of line and ornamentation. Arcades support the projecting belfry surmounted by the statue of “Jean le Guerrier”. Inside, the municipal museum displays furniture, silver, sculpture and pictures.

One thought on “Allies Day 17 Ypres to Oudenaarde July 7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *