The Cycling Challenges for 2017

Targets are important to me. Last year’s was important for many reasons. Fundraising for research in to MS and also for me to challenge myself to do something…… different. Cycling up a mountain was a first for me and, I must admit, I liked it.

Next year will be the same, albeit this time not sponsored. Just selfish insanity.

To spread the effort through the year I decided to take three challenges. Because I still have some nerdish tendencies, these are graded.

Challenge One – Easy…. Sort of……
Rondje Markermeer

Something nice and local. Sort of. A long ride along Oostvadersdijk before crossing the Houtribdijk from Lelystad and then a ride back home via Enhuizen, Hoorn and Amsterdam. Or the other way around, depending on the wind.

Of course, if you don’t live in the Netherlands, none of that will mean sh*t. Lot’s of Dutch towns that sound….. well…. Dutch.

So, I will just that this is sort of easy because half of the route, up until Lelystad, is well-known for me and, if anything goes wrong, well, I am not that far from home. In the same country at least. Just flat, nothing to climb.

But why I gave this the easiest rating for the challenges I really don’t know! It’s not easy! Anything involving 170km in the saddle is not easy, especially if the wind is in the wrong direction which it will be for fifty percent of the ride at least. However, I can undertake this ride whenever I want after some initial scouting. So it will be, comparatively, easier than the other challenges.

More details on this link – https://www.strava.com/local/nl/amsterdam/cycling/routes/365

Challenge Two – Medium…. Only Because I Have Done It Before…..
Mont Ventoux

The reason to go back is that, in a strangely insane way, I enjoyed my first taste of real climbing. So heading back and planning two climbs. Not on the same day, I hasten to add. One via Bedoin again and aiming for a bit of a faster climb and another from Malaucene, this time involving a slow descent via Sault. That’s the plan.

This is only medium because I am actually quite stupid. The climb via Bedoin in 2016 was the challenge for 2016 and I built my riding year around it. If it is now medium it is only because, well, it can be less difficult than my third challenge as I am not tied to a fixed date. Just a week in June. I can ride at my leisure and will also take the chance to have a look around.

Well, that’s what I am saying now. But then that little voice will come in my head….. ‘You can improve on last year’s times, can’t you?’ But, like I said above, I am quite stupid.

Challenge Three – What the Hell am I Thinking??????
Liege-Bastogne-Liege

It’s an ambition of mine to follow the route of a ‘Classic‘ cycling race. Exciting events to watch, normally over tough terrain no matter what the weather. Hills, cobbles, dusty tracks. Not just climbing but descending which, I must admit, I don’t like. Up is painful but satisfying. Down is less effort but more control and more to take in, hard work.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege will therefore be Challenge Number Three. A classic. A Monument, no less. And it will be climbing. And descending. And I am nervous about it, of course. A fixed date so no matter what the weather, the ride will happen. Hopefully it will be unseasonably warm and dry and with very low winds. I mean, I admire Bernard Hinault but I have no desire to emulate his efforts in the 1980 race.

Strangely, the most difficult challenge will al be the first to be undertaken. April 22nd 2017 is the targeted date. Might as well get the most painful done first!

Important to note that the arrangements for Challenge Three are not completed. So if it falls by the wayside for any reason I will find something equally stupid as a replacement. Did I say stupid? I meant….. challenging……

There are actually four other ‘monuments’. Two, Milan-San Remo and and Giro di Lombardia are in Italy so they are not so practical. The other two, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, are very focused on cobbles and, to be honest, I don’t think I have the upper body strength for cobbles.

Also, Bernard Hinault apparently did say the Paris-Roubaix was a ‘race for dickheads’ so who am I disagree with The Badger? He did win it, though, so he can say whatever he wants.

As per 2016, I will blog on 2017’s challenges and the preparation for them.It’ll hurt me. You can just read the blog and think ‘what a prat……’

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