4 days have passed since I left Geraardsbergen and the upcoming hours would determine the outcome of the race. Since I knew it would be a tough and long day in the mountains I got a few hours of extra sleep and made use of the hotel breakfast. I knew many riders were already up and tackling the first pass of the day. For me, the dots on the Trackleader maps were targets for the upcoming 24 hours. The scenery was awesome and within two hours I had finished one of the steepest climb of my route towards Turkey: the main part averaging 11% over 7 kilometres was conquered. Holy sh*t, that was tough on legs. I was literally crawling, meter by meter getting closer to the summit. At 60rpm, 9-10km / hour I was happy my knees didn’t break down.
It’s over 8 weeks ago and finally found some time to start writing a few lines about my experiences and more important, my learnings for next races. After finishing, I immediately knew I would race again, no doubt whatsoever. In the past few weeks I’ve been medically struggling: during the trip to Turkey I managed to pick up some parasites and a tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) and to finish it up I had multiple surgeries to my mouth removing my last wisdom tooth including a benign tumour. That’s done so time to reflect on the most intensive two weeks I have ever experienced.
The last weeks leading up to this Friday have been a bit troubling: I have been suffering from a tooth infection which made me feel quite crap the past three weeks so the number of training sessions have been a bit low. Finally discovered the source of my low energy levels and cold symptoms last week, followed by removing two molars last friday. Quite a risk to do surgery a week before heading to Turkey but the day after I already felt a lot better since the infection got a chance to cure. And two teeth out saves me some weight, everything for a faster time! Next to that we all have seen what happened in Turkey: besides the political situation which I already considered when signing up for the race, I have no problem racing through Turkey as long as my safety is not in danger. This isn’t the case and the race director has asked us to prepare an alternative finish in Greece, Alexandroupolis in case the situation changes in the upcoming weeks. I’m really looking forward to cross 12 countries and tackle all the challenges on my way. Route planning has been challenging, especially in the countries where Google Streetview is not present but I’m sure my Mason will take care of me on all the unexpected gravel roads and fight of chasing dogs in Bulgaria 🙂
Checking out Geraardsbergen
While feeling bad I did do my last training: I rode my fully loaded bike to the start line in Geraardsbergen, just 220km. After 70km I was totally done: no power in the legs, cramping and spiritless so I thought about turning around an go back to my bed. Luckily my mind didn’t allowed me to stop and after a coke at a 24/7 gas station I decided I really needed to finish this ride since the TCR will be raced in a similar state but then for over at least 10 days. I left Utrecht at 20:30 and arrived at 05:00 just in time to enjoy an amazing sunset at the top of De Muur, where cycling history has been made: Continue reading The Transcontinental: lets race Europe! #TCRno4
Just 4 weeks before the start of the 4000km Transcontinental race from Geraardsbergen (BE) to Canakkle (TR). During preparations and training rides, people often asked what I have in my bags or what I will take with me during my journey to Turkey. For me this list will be my packing checklist, so let me know in the comments if I’m missing something 🙂 Continue reading My Gear list for Transcontinental Race 2016
Last minute I decided to take over a registration for one of the toughest 1-day cycling challenges you can do in Europe: the 175km Paris-Roubaix Challenge; including 52 kilometres of paved cobble sections. At friday I took the train to Roubaix via Antwerp: depending on my fatique and the weather I would try to ride back home saving 70EUR of train tickets 🙂 I was able to crash on this beautiful couch the night before, thanks Yuri!
Completely done with the rainy weather in the Netherlands I booked a last minute trip to Mallorca in a quest for some climb training and some sun to keep my training spirit as high as possible. Mallorcan roads are well maintained, cyclist are really welcome and I really enjoyed it last year. My flights to Mallorca where horror, my first flight to Madrid was delayed so I missed my connection. The next available flight had a situation with a broken plane at the gate so on the end I spend 6 additional hot hours at Madrid Airport in the worst lounge I’ve ever seen. Crappy wifi and the food & coffee were even worse. To make it even more fun, my throat got sore and I was not feeling particular well.
Once I made my decision about the new bike I would be buying, I made the agreement to save shipping costs and meet the people that build the bike by picking it up myself. That also meant I wouldn’t order a bike in the United States 🙂 The choice was finally made and I scheduled my trip from Brighton to Utrecht: the original route would take me across 480km of unexplored roads along the coast lines of the England, France and Belgium.
Friday, 19th of February: at 06:00 I woke up to take the train to Schiphol. Unfortunately the only flight that was reasonable priced and scheduled was a flight with Easyjet. As you can expect, things went bad. My flight was delayed 1,5 hour, the crew was wining about my helmet that was attached to my small backpack while I paid for additional luggage already. No flying with Easyjet again for me this year, I’ll work a few additional hours to pay for a decent experience. Continue reading Trip report: Brighton (UK) – Breskens (NL) – 325km
After spending a week in Mallorca earlier this year, I was curious about Tenerife from a cycling perspective. Pro riders from Team Sky and our own Dutch hero’s Kelderman and Kruijswijk seem to enjoy the island and the weather (almost no seasonal influence) so I booked myself a nice apartment in the small fishers village El Medano in the southern part of the island. Had two great flights (via Madrid) with Air Europa in business class and after picking up my rental car at the Tenerife North Airport it was an easy 45 minute drive to the southern part of the island via the TF1 highway. Clearly this highway was not suitable for cyclists and I got to learn that later on during the week again…
After a few jokes with my coworkers about the crazy idea of spending 200km on a mountainbike during a day in December with unpredictable (probably bad!) weather, I competed in a competition to make chance on one of the last 10 entries into the race. Last week I got an e-mail from the organisers: “you’re in and have to prepare for at least 14 hours of cycling in unpredictable conditions!” Challenge accepted 🙂 There are 400 participants, I have set the goal of finishing within the top 50!
The Drenthe 200 is an ultra marathon for mountainbike, fatbike or cyclecross bike. And yes, you will experience 200 ultra-tough, but very beautiful kilometers running underneath your wheels.
So the first thing I had to take care of was getting a new mountainbike so this weekend I went to the Giant store in Utrecht and came home with this beauty: a Giant XTC Advanced 29er
Sometimes life gets a bit boring and you need a decent challenge to take everything out of it. After having some great experiences last summer, making solo trips of 250km and more I decided to take the next step. As a former 300m sprint specialist I could never imagine I would like hours after hours on my bike, but I did!
The Transcontinental Race 2016 #TCRNO4
At the end of July 2016 I’ll compete in a race across Europe*: starting in Belgium and finishing in Turkey. This results in around 3900-4000 kilometers of Europe’s finest asphalt, combined with around 60.000 meters of climbing. Like in the old days of the Tour de France: one stage and the clock never stops, riders are averaging 400+ km’s / day, no support vehicles, no support teams, no rules. Just 4 checkpoints in between. People that know me, know I’m fit for it psychologically so the biggest challenge will be getting my body in shape during the next 9 months.
On this blog I’ll share all the challenges I will face during route planning, dieting, training, equipment choices, what to pack and which legal issues I have to take care of during my journey. Follow me via Twitter @jbobbink or add me on Facebook
*Only 250 people of approximately 350 people will be able to actually contest. If I’m not assigned to one of the 250 spots on the roster, I’ll be racing across the United States, West to East coast.