Monday, February 23, 2009


Mike Audley told me about the Paterberg and today I set out to find it. I almost did not. I got totally disoriented riding around the small roads. With no sun to guide one´s path -there is a constant fog that evens out all the light and no way to tell where the sun is- it is easy to get lost. I know because there is a big cooling tower near Kluisbergen and every time I looked, expecting to find it somewhere it turned out to be somewhere else.

I rode to Oudenaarde and then to Ronse. Near Ronse I had a very close encounter with a huge truck that drove way too fast and way too close. In Ronse I climbed the Hotond, the highest hill in Flanders at 150 meters. From there I rode to Kluisbergen, reasoning Kwaremont, where the Paterberg is, had to be on the left. When I saw a sign "Ronde" to the right I followed it thinking I would backtrack later. However it took me to the Paterberg, showing you how confused I was. Then I rode over the Paterberg and following the "Ronde" signs I got back to Melden, all the while assuming I was riding away from Oudenaarde instead.

In Melden, I climbed the Koppenberg again but had a really hard time on the slippery wet cobbles. When a car came up behind me I had to unclip. Walking up proved almost as difficult as riding. Near the mid-section, I was able to clip in again and ride the rest of the hill. From there I rode to Leupegem and up Volkegem Berg. On top, I encountered a flat cobblestone section that was very tricky to ride. Additionally, I had to move into the mud several times to dodge oncoming cars.

I descended back into Leupegem and went to Oudenaarde from there, and then home. Overall I rode for 2 hours and I was once again quite muddy and wet, although not cold.

Tonight I had another filling replaced as part of my dental marathon. For the first time in my life I had it done without anesthesia, which turned out to be a whole lot better, easier and less painful than otherwise. It made me feel very good too to know I had conquered my fears.

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