Transcontinental Race, it is on!

Monday afternoon. I am in front of the mirror in my bathroom, looking myself in the eye. Sweat is dripping from my face. There you are and what have you got yourself into this time? Happy now? No just kidding, I am smiling, because I just got a mail the I am invited to ride the Transcontinental Race this year.

About two years ago I decided I wanted to ride the Transcontinental Race, but how? My longest ride at that moment was 175km and I was ‘dead’ afterwards. Now two years later I am mentally ready for it. Well I think I am ready mentally. I did some longer rides in 2016, with the longest in August. I had to scratch from that one, but I learned a lot about riding longer distances, packing my bike the right way and keep pushing whilst you just want to quit.

Early november I submitted my application for a spot on the Transcontinental Race, because Emily asked for it. Well she got it. Almost 50 women got a spot on the Transcontinental this year. A lot compared to previous editions. I am curious how many of all those women, myself included, will reach the finish in Meteora, Greece. With 7 months to go, I am utterly motivated. Especially because 2016 didn’t turn out what I was hoping for.

See you all in Geraardsbergen on July 28th 2017!

Post-Ride Blues, what helped me out

The Post-Ride blues was suddenly there. It took me two months to get over it. Let me explain what happened, what helped me out and how I discovered about the Post-Ride blues.

Early August I have ridden L’Altra P-B-P, a 1900km cycling event from Pinerolo (Italy) to Barcelona (Spain) and back to Pinerolo. For months I have been working towards the event. Riding my bike, making the necessary milage. Since I want to participate in The Transcontinental in 2017, I thought this a good way to get some more experience in longer rides.

I have been suffering for days that week. Not physical, but mentally. The first day was ok. It was hot with temperatures between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius, but I was really enjoying it so far. Early in the morning on the second day, I was riding towards the top of Mont Ventoux, I broke mentally. Riding up a mountain while having to cry all the time doesn’t work. Eventually after hours, I made it and took a quick descent to meet some friends. That helped me get on track again.

After a good night sleep in a hostel in Avignon (needed it badly, but lost time over there), I was back on track. Had a good day and slept on the beach for a few hours at Séte, before riding to Narbonne during the night. After breakfast I found my pace and was rapidly heading towards Perpignan, close to the Pyrenees. Unfortunately I experienced three flat tires, so I had to find me a bike shop to get new ones. I lost a complete afternoon, while I was already behind on my schedule. I decided to scratch. Emotional decision, but it was wise to do.

The days following I managed my way back to Torino (Italy) to get my train back home. After I week of riding my bike for more than 1500 km, I was really looking forward to go home. Sleeping in my own bed, waking up with coffee on my couch. The regular routine. But when I arrived home, I didn’t feel so good mentally. I experienced an emptiness. All I have been training for was over. It felt as if the walls were closing in on me.

The Post-Ride Blues

Meanwhile I didn’t had any urge to get on my bike again. I did, but I didn’t enjoy it. Once or twice a week I did a ride an hour. I reacted agitated to the friends and family around me (Sorry guys). Which isn’t also very good maintaining friendships. I didn’t have a good time and went to bars to drink beer. I drank more beer in a week than I normally drink in a month. Not quite a healthy lifestyle.

Ironically visiting bars bumped me into learning new people. People who didn’t know about my struggle those weeks. They were a blessing! So much love and positivity kept me standing. A few weeks later I read a blog of Emily Chappell, a female cyclist I admire a lot, about the lack of women riding long-distance races. I have to confess I had my doubts entering The Transcontinental next year, but this blog hit me. Just do it. I had a new goal. Much needed.

Two days later, I stumbled upon an episode of the Tough Girl Podcast where Emily was interviewed. Somewhere in the episode, she was talking about having a post-ride blues. Suddenly all puzzle pieces were falling at the right place for me. This was exactly what I was feeling.

From that day on, I did ride my bike with fun again. I have a goal. I have friends and family who support me in different ways. I have a bike, which I like having adventures with. I’m feeling happy again.

Thank you all!

Cycling to-do

Ik ben er maar eens even voor gaan zitten. Even een lijstje maken van ritten die ik dit jaar op de planning heb staan. Vorig jaar stond in het teken van 10.000km fietsen. Dit jaar wil ik meer hoogtemeters maken. Best lastig op het uiterst platte Voorne Putten. Dat wordt dus uitwijken naar andere regio’s.

Het lijstje zal waarschijnlijk nog aangevuld gaan worden. Het is een begin.

Maart

23 – Amstel Gold Race lus 3 (79km)

April

18 – Amstel Gold Race tourversie (125km)

Mei

31 – Giro di Kek! (130km)

Juni

20 – Jan Janssen Classic (afstand nog niet bekend)

Juli

12 – #Weownyellow Festival

Augustus

30 – Airborne Fietstourtocht (150km)

September

12 – GO-Classic (150km)