Ronde van Oost Lancashire - a Flanders classic for the North of England
Free-to-enter 50-miler taking in some hidden cobbled gems around Burnley
Free entry! Free cake! Right, now we've got your attention. If you're in the vicinity of Burnley on Saturday 31 March then why not get yourself out and about and have a go at the Ronde van Oost Lancashire, a 50-mile loop that takes in some of the area's finest scenery and a whole host of hidden cobbled gems. To whet your appetite, they've produced this rather nice video to set the tone...
The Ronde is in its third year and this year the organisers are expecting 100 riders. The ride starts at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford and loops anti-clockwise around Burnley, with an Easterly leg that runs out to Hebden via Hawks Stones and back past Widdop reservoir for some tough climbing on some fairly wild roads. As well as that, the organisers have included as many cobbled sections as they can to give the full Flanders experience. They make the route 'a little contrived' according to the crossjunkie website and you can miss them out if you really don't fancy them, but we can't help feeling you'd be better off manning up and getting your arse on the cobbles.
Some of the climbs look a bit frightening; the Packhorse in Hebden has a handrail, which is never a good sign. The organisers describe it as "brutal to ride, probably impossible in the wet or damp", so pray for a dry day if you're rocking up. For full information on the ride head over to http://crossjunkie.blogspot.com/