On Sunday 9th April 2017, Armidale Cycling Club hosts the 5th edition of the Thunderbolt Roubaix – our very own (but much more enjoyable) Hell of the North. Following the same route and format as in previous years riders will compete on road bikes and face a number of tough ‘cobbled’ sectors across dirt tracks with corrugations and potholes a-plenty to ensure you’ll be hobbling off to Dr Tindale on Monday morning.
On completion of the tough cross-country course, riders will complete 2 laps of the Mann St “velodrome” before retiring to a local cafe for coffee and cake. Riders are encouraged to ride road bikes from the 70’s, 80’s or any past era with bravery awards for those who present on particularly heavy vintage steeds. Feel free to dress in itchy, scratchy cycling gear from the same era if you really want to get into the spirit of things.
The 92 kilometre “race” will depart (whatever the weather) at 7am from Bullen’s Bike Shop on Sunday 9th April and may take 3 or 4 hours depending on punctures and whether we’ve had any rain in the preceding days. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be another fantastic and very sociable club day out and the perfect physical and spiritual warm-up for Paris Roubaix that evening – live on SBS from 9:30pm. Participation will allow you to smugly bask in a deep post-race afterglow, your weary limbs worthily propped up on the sofa, as you re-live your spectacular performance yelling at Matthew Hayman for a repeat of his outrageous victory in 2016.
Once again, we’ll use the same authentic route with gravel, mud and dirt dating back to Napoleonic times, unearthed after extensive research by Swanny in 2014. You can view it in full detail here. So dig out your retro bikes and clothing, wrap some tubs around your shoulders, bidons on your bars and get it in the diary – Sunday 9th April – 7am.
Quite frankly, we can’t wait, but if you needed any further inspiration and more than a few goosebumps – check out this great SBS documentary on the 2007 edition of the real thing where “Pain is temporary and memories are forever”…
Note: In previous years the group have encountered more than the odd puncture due to the terrain. Although the numerous stops were much appreciated by those riding heavier bikes, please make sure your vintage steeds are in reasonable condition. You won’t go far wrong with a pair of 28C steel-beaded Jock Bullen solids. Hint: if you can already see the inner tube through the sidewall of your tyre at the start of the ride then it’s probably not going to last the distance.