I’m a cycling fan, that’s no news. My memories go back to listening to the radio on the beach of my hometown in July 1988. That year the Dutchies scored 7 victories and I was only 5 years old. Of course I don’t really have vivid memories of those times but I do remember the ambiance and the happiness that came after another Dutch victory. Steven Rooks on Alpe d’Huez in 1988, I just remember shots of it, sitting on the couch in our living room in the house my mom still lives in. I remember a lot more of 1989, Erik Breukink winning the prologue but even more so the victory of Gert-Jan Theunisse again on Alpe d’Huez. There are much bigger cycling fans out there but watching or listening to the Tour de France is part of my earliest memories, which makes it special by itself.
Cycling is something that every Dutchie does but I never did it as a sport myself. I remember that when I was 8 years old I was really proud cycling 30km alongside my father, I can remember my bike, I can remember his bike. Sometimes I think my love for cycling has more to do with the love for my father, it’s been 4,5 years now and I would just love to sit next to him on the couch, watching the Tour de France coming summer. I know this is never going to happen but I can chase my own cycling dreams and imagine how my father watches me, the same way we watched cycling on TV together.
I’ve never been a gifted sportsmen, I’ve had many physical issues which started from a young age, I’m 2 meters tall and currently over a hundred kilo, not the best setup for cycling up mountains. Last year I cycled Alpe d’Huez myself, a special moment and a lot of memories passed on the climb. My goals in cycling are small compared to most others but I really look forward to achieving them. Yesterday I cycled 80km in one of the most beautiful area’s really close to Amsterdam. Rondje Ringvaart as we would say in Dutch, it’s the area around our airport Schiphol. In 1840 this area was pumped dry by building a 59,5km long dike, in 1852 the water inside the dike was gone and a canal next to the dike remained. The road I cycled yesterday is build on top of this dike, a fantastic ride and even by car I would recommend just riding it once on a sunny day.
So coming weekend I’m cycling the Amstel Gold Race again. Last year I cycled the 100km route but since this year it’s turned into a fun weekend with the guys I’m only doing the 65km route. On Saturday the 7th of May I’m cycling the 110km long Classico Boretti and I want to finish the season with the 145km Dam tot Dam Fietsclassic. Now these are my goals for this year and are not really that special to be honest. I’ve done a 160km flat ride before so that 145km ride in September shouldn’t really be an issue. The idea however is that this winter I’m trying to stay fit so for next year I don’t have to start all over again. The 100km Amstel Gold Race was pretty hard last year but there is a 125, 150, 200 and 250km ride as well! For next year my goal is to at least cycle the 150km one. Then to top it off next year I really want to cycle the Luik-Bastenaken-Luik Classic (Liège – Bastogne – Liège), I have my eyes on the 170km route! I think both goals are really challenging, but also a fantastic experience!
I love setting goals but even when I won’t make it the training alone would be really good for me. I’m 28, love food and love a beer in the weekend. These goals would at least keep me fit and feeling fit is such a great thing. Even today, a day after a good work-out yesterday, I’m feeling so much better then after a weekend lying on the couch. Also chasing these goals would allow me to try to do even more things. I would still love to cycle up some mountains in the Alpes, the Mt Ventoux or the Galibier for example. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to do the exact thing I just wrote down but I do want to feel fit, I would love to cycle the LBL just once and I’m definitely going back to the alp’s one day, probably also to beat my own time on Alpe d’Huez!