Dennis Lijnsveld and Juul Spies, our colleagues at BIT, took up the idea last year to do a cycling tour to support a good cause. Because both of them have experienced the effects of cancer in their immediate surroundings, the choice was easy; Alpe d'HuZes is the event they want to be involved in. Of course BIT supports this tough challenge and wishes Dennis and Juul the best of luck.
Since our last update we have literally and figuratively done mountains of work. The training sessions are going well, the outfits have been ordered, the first test films have been shot and there has been a lot of attention for all donations.
The Easter weekend seems like a great time to kick-off our training. After some research on a number of fronts we decide to travel to Girona, Spain. Especially the weather made us decide to go to the usually sunny Spain.
18 to 20 degrees is a lot better to work hard in than 5 degrees and a lot of rain. Juul managed to get some bikes locally and Dennis secured the penthouse that would be our base.
Upon our arrival in Girona, we find our first pleasant surprise. Before we have even set foot in the arrivals hall, we are confronted with clear blue skies and a nice warm sun. Our jackets can stay in the suitcases an our sweaters are replaced by nice shirts. The day of arrival will mostly be used for getting groceries, exploring the city and collecting our bikes.
The bikes are picked up and look good. We wonder how they are on the road. Juul has found some routes for us at home and we decide to do a 120 km tour the next day. This will be hard on Dennis, since he has never been on a mountain before and never spent longer than an hour on a bike in the Netherlands.
After a delicious breakfast by chef Juul, we head out. The bikes are readied, the bike computers attached and checked and the weather promises a pleasant 16 degrees. The bikes turn out to be fine-tuned and we do not need to worry about our materials. Dennis is working hard to stay with Juul and tests what he can and cannot do. The route contains a serious climb at the end of the first day, which we approach with enthusiasm! Juul with a big smile, Dennis with a slightly smaller one. The climb is not as tough on the both of us and the fact that Juul climbed it a time and a half might suggest which one of us struggled more. After the climb we leisurely return to our apartment. The first day is done and we both had a good ride, even though one had a tougher time than the other.
The second day, again, starts with breakfast. We have decided to start a little later and enjoy the rest. The route for today is a little shorter and a lot easier, so we can recover enough to be ready for day three, which will be a lot longer again. At the end of the morning we get on our bikes. We have about 50 km to go, but we change our minds just before we start. Juul has further examined the route and found a nice mountain close by. Initially the mountain reminds us of the Alpe d'Huez, the mountain we are training for. Rocacorba mountain has a climb of 13,3 km in which we need to reach an altitude of no less than 900 metres. The picture below explains a little more.
We decide to add the mountain to our route and estimate a good 70 km for today. Quite a lot for a recovery day, but this really is a mountain we have to do and our route for day three is very much out of the way, the choice was easy. The mountain quickly comes close and we find a nice sign at the start again.
Up to now, the facilities in Girona have really surprised us. It is a good place to be a biker. The roads are easily accessible, traffic keeps a good distance and on mountains like this we find many signs to tell us where we are. The mountains is conquered and Dennis is doing a lot better than the day before. Juul is being a real mountain goat and bikes ahead of Dennis. This time Dennis is already 11 km in when he waits for Juul to come back. After Juul shared some of his water, they continue to the top together. Again a mountain with two peaks for Juul. The view on the top is phenomenal and we have reached another milestone.
On the third day we want to hit the coastline. We go 'down' to the Costa Brava. For Dennis, who doubted whether he would get to the top of the mountain today, our arrival in Tossa de Mar is also the end stop. Days on a bike has left him with saddle soreness, which is very common for novice cyclists. However, it is so painful by now that he has to top after 40 km. A big disappointment, because the ride for today would have been a beautiful one. After finding Dennis a taxi, Juul continued on alone. The praises for the route turn out to all be true. The ride is beautiful and every cove gives yet another stunning view of the coastline.
We have had some really great days here in Girona. The weather was good, the facilities were great and the rides, bikes and roads were very well organised. Our first real training stage is over and we can go back to the cold of the Netherlands feeling good about ourselves. Dennis conquered his first mountains and Juul knows how in shape he is at the moment. Altogether we had some wonderful days to look back on!
Our next ride will be the tour 'Through the Gelderse gate'. We will start at 8 AM that morning to ride the 150 km version. With some hills in and around Arnhem, the ride is promising to be quite challenging. Juul will have biked around 230 km, since he is cycling to and from the start as well. A long day with good weather at the end. The ride itself was properly organised and included a climbing time trial which allowed us to train our legs a little too.
We continue our preparations and we both have individual rides planned as well as practice rides together. Our next update will follow suit with more news and the next rides. Follow us on Strava to stay informed of all our rides.
Strava Juul Spies: https://www.strava.com/athletes/1985929
Strava Dennis Lijnsveld: https://www.strava.com/athletes/13682586
Page Alpe d' HuZes: https://deelnemers.opgevenisgeenoptie.nl/bacachos
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bacachosduzes
On Sunday May 22nd, we are organising a pleasant bike ride and we would really like to have you with us! It will be doable ride of 50/60 km.
We meet at 9:30 at BIT-MeetMe and we leave at 10.30. Dennis and I will ensure the wind will not bother you, there will be a short break halfway and, entirely in BIT style, we will have some pastries ready for you after. There is plenty of parking space at BIT-MeetMe and there are facilities where you can shower and change. The registration fee is € 2,50. This amount can be paid in cash at the start and will, of course, go to the charity. If you would like to join us, please sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.