“Six idiots” – their words, not ours – will next week “set out to do what no-one should ever do” by riding the full routes of five Spring Classics in just seven days, including cycling writer Bill Strickland and photographer Chris Milliman.
Starting this Sunday with Gent-Wevelgem and finishing a week on Saturday with Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the event, billed as ‘the Stoepidist Week’ – more about that name below – will also take in the routes of the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold.
With an average distance of nearly 253 kilometres, that means 1,263 kilometres of some very hard riding inside the week, which also includes what are likely to be a very well earned couple of rest days, a break from the cobbles and bergs.
As editor-of-large of Bicycling magazine and author of books including Tour de Lance, Strickland will need no introduction to many road.cc users, while Milliman’s photography will be familiar to anyone who follows cyclocross closely. He’s also shot the very Classics that he is about to experience from a different perspective.
Joining them are David Alvarez and Jeff Lockwood, both originally from the United States but now based in Belgium. That’s Lockwood tackling the Paterberg in the pictures, by the way.
Belgium is also the native country of another of their companions, 36-year-old pro cyclocross rider Ben Berden. Pennsylvania-based Mark Taylor is the final member of the group.
So, why the Stoepedist Week?
Well, Alvarez, together with Springfield, Oregon-based framebuilder Todd Gardner, is the man behind Stoemper, maker of handbuilt steel and aluminium cyclocross frames and now branching out into road bikes too.
All six of those riding those five Classics next week will be riding on Stoemper road frames – they’ll see the bikes for the first time on Saturday, so the honeymoon period is a very short one – which they’re each buying themselves. This definitely isn’t a junket.
Other suppliers include ENVE, Castelli and Easton, while the Stoepedist Week blog also has a link to Strava data, hopefully meaning you’ll be able to see how the riders have got on at the end of each day.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.