Men in Lycra at the Menin Gate

For The Wattmeister, cycling is not all about harvesting Strava KOMs (*more news on this subject to follow), nor is it about making futile solo breakaways into a headwind, (**more news on this subject to follow).

A couple of weeks ago, ‘Rocket’ Ray and The Wattmeister headed off to Ieper (Ypres) in Flanders on their touring bikes…destination The Menin Gate Memorial, in order to witness the 30,286th consecutive playing of The Last Post.

This moving ceremony has been held every evening since 1928 to honour the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies who died in the Ieper Salient during the First World War.

Menin Gate 20160421_103646

Needless to say, the 90 kms cycle ride from Calais to Ieper was played out into a fierce, raging headwind, and as the Last Post drew to a close, the rumbling in TW’s stomach threatened to break the silence.

Sensing a catastrophe, ‘Rocket’ managed to usher The Wattmeister, now dribbling and dizzy with hunger, into the nearest bistro, (Les Halles…very good), and after a dustbin full of spaghetti bolognese followed by a dessert of spicy cheeseburger, frites and salad, The Wattmeister, once again coherent, was in a position to review the day’s ride with Young ‘Rocket’.

As the train line between Folkestone and Dover was compromised by a landslip…thank you (not at all) TheTrainLine for selling the tickets and not making this fact completely clear….Rocket and The Wattmeister were forced to race the 17 kms from Folkestone Station to Dover Docks in order to catch the designated ferry.

** Headwind Alert. What a brutal introduction to the mini-tour….and ‘Rocket’ with only the one heart valve. Anyway, he tucked in behind The Wattmeister’s Great Arse and all those years of Quixotic forays against the elements paid dividends as they reached the ferry terminal with minutes to spare.

On the other side of La Manche, the wind had not abated but there was much less traffic and, well, at the very least it was going to be good ‘training’.

*On returning to Blighty, no doubt strengthened by these trials and tribulations, The Wattmeister has hit top form (for a 57 year old), with a joint KOM:

and the 14th fastest time out of 1,079,565 attempts:

More frites alsjeblieft!




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