Feier der Frühlingsklassiker – Schotter und Asphalttour auf 28 Pflasterreifen: Gö Velodrom – Dransfeld Rampe – Radweg bei Rischenkrug (B3) nach Dransfeld – L559 und dann der Asphaltaufstieg auf die Hoher Hagen – Dransfeld – Gö Velodrom.
Celebrating the Spring Classics and all races that forsake the asphalt I started at Göttingen Velodrome and rode the dirt and gravel of the Dransfeld Ramp before I then climbed up to the Gauß Tower atop Hoher Hagen via asphalt public roads, the highest point in the area. To pay tribute to Classics I did it on my road bike with clincher Vittoria Pave 28s.
The return journey followed waymarked cyclepaths which reminded me of the Belgian Ardennes or the Limburg area in the Netherlands. I added a few stretches of gravel at the end on route back to the velodrome.
It also felt to me that the Dransfeld Ramp section of this ride was like riding in the French speaking Wallonia region in Belgium near Brussels (I visited the Eddy Merckx factory) where cobbles are less plentiful than in Flanders.
There was a time if you wanted to do well or win at the Paris Roubaix, the ´Hell of the North´ cycle race or in almost any of the Belgian Spring Classic races you might ride on a pair of Vittoria Pave tubulars stuck firmly to Ambrosia Nemesis rims. Many teams and riders would hide the provenance of their tyres and wheels so as not to upset their sponsors when using the combination.
I have ridden on gravel for over twenty years on Vittoria ´green´ Pave tyres, first in 25mm and then 28 width size, sadly never with Nemesis rims. In April 2019 a few aweeks after moving to Göttingen I rode what I called a ´High and Low Ride´.
Riding on narrow tyres across cobbles or gravel is great fun, but tough on the mind because you need to concentrate deeply and rather than force your way through the rough stuff you must use finesse (´Float like a butterfly´ as Ali once said). To do otherwise can lead to breaking your bike or yourself, what you learn is how to ´feel´ the terrain which makes riding your fat tyred gravel bike a much better experience for the future.
A big problem with wet conditions or generally in the winter is the slippery mud which lies in an ice like thin film upon stone, on concrete or on asphalt farm roads making them treacherous. Even when equipped with a treaded gravel tyre small benign looking muddy patches can spit your front wheel out from under you when cycling in a straight line. Riding the cobbles of Paris Roubaix (2010 and 2012) requires you to always to look ahead and decide where you intend to place your wheels hoping to avoid any nasty surprises. The same goes for gravel.
The Pave tyre is no longer featured by Vittoria and has been replaced with the Strade Bianche winning Control range (plus a 30mm) but they can still be bought from many resellers. The Nemesis meanwhile remains proudly in the Ambrosio inventory.
The gravel and dirt of the Dransfeld Ramp isn´t as gnarly as say the Arenberg cobbles which features in the Paris Roubaix cycle race and the lack of tread on my Pave´s wasn´t too tricky.
The Pave tyre is no longer featured by Vittoria and has been replaced with the Strade Bianche winning Control range (plus a 30mm), but they can still be bought from many resellers. The Nemesis meanwhile remains proudly in the Ambrosio inventory.
From the velodrome it is a mix of gravel, cycle paths until the Dransfeld Ramp which begins on asphalt and becomes gravel/dirt soon after. At Rischenkrug (the B3 road) I departed the old railway line and followed a concrete/asphalt cycle path/farm road to Dransfeld. Here the route switched to an asphalt public road which eventually led up to the Gauß Tower. A long descent followed bedecked with graffiti to encourage TDE cycle sportive particpants (they go up) taking me back to Dransfeld and I went home descending along a waymarked cycle route.
There was still some snow at the Gauß Tower, and it was hard day in the saddle because rain fell, a bit of sun shone, it was cold on the high ground and a stiff head wind blew in my face for a large chunk of this ride. Super ´Classics´ weather in fact.
44km including 11 sectors of gravel.
Dransfeld Ramp: 10.4km. gravel at 6.6 for 3.8km.
Ellershausen Loop: 7.6km max gradient of 2% plus (A long drag up).
Hoher Hagen: 1.6km max gradient of 7%