50.000km and counting…

Looking back in my old travel-journals I was traveling on my bike for a total of 21.840km before I decided that I needed another challenge… So when I started my triathlon-journey I also started a blank excel spreadsheet (since I do love numbers) and started logging my training: from my first runs (starting with a one minute run, one minute walk), my first attempts at swimming (just happy not to drown and reach the other side of the pool alive), and my cycling kilometers, starting at zero… (those where the easy ones, since I knew how to ride a bike!).

That training-log has now grown; every year something new seems to be added: at first it was only distances and times, then heartrates, and now there’s also power-output, resting heartrates and more and more data to learn from and analyze…

But the kilometers have been there from the start; indoors, outdoors, in sun, wind and rain, daylight rides, night rides… training-rides, races, solo rides, group-rides, hard and fast intervals, easy cruising kilometers, epic adventures, just countless of memories being made on the bike…

And today… Today I rode my 50.000th bicycle kilometer since starting my little triathlon journey…

When I think back there’s a few rides that really stand out, although if you’d ask me on another day I might think of other rides, but here’s a short look back on my tri-cycling ‘career’… And it shouldn’t be a surprise when the most memorable rides have been the long ones…

july 9th 2016
the 12 provinces ride – 439.9km
(full report here)

My first ever 400+ km ride… Let’s just say that this one was remarkably easy (as far as easy is the right word to describe a 14,5 hour ride…). A nice event, some good company along the way, and great support from Stijn (who has been one of those people that’s almost always a big part of these crazy adventures!) along the way…

I remember being happy to get to the finish line, since the last hour or so it was pouring with rain, otherwise I might just have done a little extra loop to hit the 450km mark…

 

september 10th / 11th 2016
The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon – 364km
(full report here)

This one can never not be on a list with memorable moments… There’s not much to be said that hasn’t been said all ready… The course was amazing, the atmosphere was perfect, and although I messed up my nutrition my body felt pretty good… I think I might have smiled all the way through that ride (although I might have blurred out some of the less happy memories). Riding into the night was awesome, and the last ride into Llanberis was really emotional, since that was the point that I knew for sure I was going to finish this race I had been dreaming of and working towards for so long…

june 17th / 18th 2017
Domtower – Eiffeltower – 538.65km
(full report here)

Another crazy ride; in preparation for the Triple Brutal I wanted to do a 500km ride, and found out that I could go from the local Dom Tower to the Eiffel tower, quickly renaming this ‘training-ride’ the “Tower-to-Tower”. Again; Stijn joined me by car, setting up aid-stations every now and again, and following close behind when necessary to shield me from traffic… The night-section was hard; I’ve verbally abused the cobblestones in Belgium quite a bit… But the sunrise into France was beautiful, and although riding into a big city when sleep-deprived is not a perfect way to relax, the ride into Paris was definitely memorable! 

june 3th 2018
middle-distance triathlon Nieuwkoop 90.30km

This ride in itself wasn’t that special, but there’s a little fun fact: for the first time my brother Daan and me were “racing” the same distance at the same event. When I got out of the water I saw that his bike was all-ready gone (as was to be expected: Daan is a way faster swimmer than I am), but I didn’t know how far he was ahead of me… I tried to race my own race, and only overtook him on the run, also, as was to be expected, since I’m a faster runner, and our bike-speed should be about the same… But when looking at the data after the race it turned out that our bike-speed wasn’t “about” the same, on a 90km ride our bike time was only 22seconds apart… (and sadly I have to admit that I was the slowest cyclist of the two…)

september 16th / 17th 2017
The Triple Brutal Extreme Triathlon – 561.87km
(full report here)

It’s not only good memories on the bike, but this one still has to make the list, since it has been a special one (if not the most special one!)… Where the course on the Double Brutal a year earlier was awesome, now that same course was just the worst place to be… Right from the start I hated every climb, and even every descent. Riding at night sucked, riding during the day sucked, and I have even really hated my support-crew who came to Wales to help me through… And although I was just inches away from quitting this race (and who knows, maybe even quitting cycling completely), these awesome, awesome people pulled me through some really dark times… The ride sucked, I’ve never been in such a bad mental place, but still I look back on this one with a good feeling… This ride was all about teamwork, and about recovering from something that didn’t seem to be recoverable from (I even “enjoyed” most of the 126km “run” that came after this ride!), and I don’t know if I’ve ever learned more about myself in just one (really long) weekend…

july 14th 2013
Challenge Roth – 180km

When looking back on the last 50.000km the rides above stand out… But those are memories of full rides, when you break down those 50.000km into individual kilometers, there’s only one kilometer that can be the most epic one I’ve ever cycled… Imagine being on course on your first long-distance triathlon, after a swim that was way faster than expected, just flying on the bike… Unaware of your “slightly stupid” nutrition-and pacing strategies, therefore unaware of what’s to come:  the final part of the bike that will be terribly hard, and the 30+ degrees marathon that’s coming up… But for now life is still perfect, and you hear the wall of sound of Roth’s Solar Hill in the distance…

…and then you turn the corner… And all you see is is a huge crowd… I don’t think I have ever, ever, ever had a bigger smile on my face than riding up Solar Berg… And since a (moving) image says more than a thousand words; the 1-minute video below (unfortunately not with me in it, but still…) just gives you an idea of what’s going on on that one perfect kilometer stretch of road…

 

Let’s go for at least another 50.000km of adventures!!

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