Holy Harderwijk, best kept secret

IMG_4175

Harderwijk is one of our favorite locations to ride, a multitude of singletracks and gorgeous views are only 2 reasons and the best reasons to go if you ask me. Also, it’s hardly ever washed out because of heavy rain, so a safe bet in poor weather too.

We have a base-lap of about 32km of mostly singletrack (for real) and we’re hoping to expand to 90km(!), mostly singletrack and great trails, can you believe that? Harderwijk, we never knew!

We’ve got our work cut out for us this winter to find that perfect lap of 90+km trails. But since our 2015 program is taking shape, we now know we’ll need the training-hours anyway.

Stay tuned for 2015 news, it’s going to be awesome!

1780163_10152205849965899_1737808756334516853_o

Liege-Bastogne-Liege, we be roadies in paradise

After Annemieke’s big vacation touring France and Italy, we met up again in juli and took our roadbikes for longer badass trips. During one of our trips in Brabant we ended up pulling to guys towards the endline and they talked about the Liege-Bastogne-Liege from Le Champion in August, it struck a note… can we? Yes… but of course.

We arranged our staring tickets and a hotel near the start. During the night before it rain cats and dogs, we had our doubts but the weather app was adamant: it would be dry after 8:00 (thankfully it was). The city was flooded with LBL cyclists and before we knew it we where ploughing  our way up to the first climb the Côte d’Embourgh (4.8km 4% on average). Côte de Chambralles (1.6km 9% average) has a very steep start, 17% at some part.

Can you believe it?!

Just before the Col de La Roche à frène we caught up with 3 riders that had a wicked pace and we thought we’d see how far we’d get. We kept up with their average of 40-43km/h, shaking our heads with disbelieve and laughing out loud.  We looked at each other “can you believe this?”.

At the start of the Col de La Roche à frène we had to let them go and we continued at our own pace, and preparing mentally for the La Redoute that was getting closer.

We took another short break at the start of the La Redoute, making fun of stretching and getting ready. Someone next to us asked us “triple or compact” and we replied “compact”, he grinned with a slight smuck and took of…  We looked at each other… “wtf?”

Col La Redoute

La Redoute is no piece of cake, don’t know about a triple – a compact with some more strength training is sufficient I suppose- we made it. We struggled a bit, but we made it. The last 20 kilometer had a few steep climbs and a 5km end stretch with head wind. Finishing the LBL made us hungry for more, we pledged to ride more of this type of classics next years and went home tired but happy.

Le Champion organizes great events, good catering and many road marshals, not one crossing was left unattended. Well done guys!

Passportes du Soleil – the rainy day

Saturday featured: RAIN! Much like last year, and we made it home before lightning. Sunday was even worse. Annelies and I ventured out anyway and headed toward the Plény and a few runs near the Super Morzine and had run after run on the muddy slopes, laughing our heads of. Our bikes where covered in mud, so much the wheels froze and we couldn’t pick up our bikes because if the added weight.

IMG_3899

In the afternoon Annelies had to fly home and Ernies joined me, after a few runs a guy jumped in front of me on the road in Morzine taking a picture. “What a funny guy I thought” and pedaled on but he started to talk to me and I finaly recognized my former team-mates husband in casual clothes. We chatted and I swapped worn out disc pads, so Ernie and I could ride some more to Les Gets and back home, in time for soccer: NED-MEX ;-)

10516690_10152135090555899_5003712607902636041_n

 

Mont Ventoux, just because we could

In our prep for the Trans Provence we had to arrange our way to and from Nice and it coincided with Annemieke’s vacation. So we arranged it so that her camper was driven to Bédoin, where we’d arrive saturday after the Trans Provence… you may guess why…

IMG_3809When you are in the vicinity of the infamous Mount Ventoux… you just have to attempt to ride this 21 kilometer climb to reach the peak at 1912m. Our road-bikes where in the camper van, we took sunday off to relax. Sleep in, sit by the pool, sleep so more and catch up with loved ones. In the afternoon we took the car up to the peak, just to see what was waiting for us the next day. Now neither of us likes to get up early voluntarily, unless there’s a just cause for it… getting to the top before the heat was a good enough reason to set the alarm to “too early” once again. We coasted on our way to take the obligatory selfie at “Kilomètre 0″ and than we where on our way.

I had never done any cols before this, not even smaller ones, so the Mount Ventoux is a giant to get started with. Annemieke kept warning me not to go to fast an pace myself. We had planned to climb the Ventoux from all 3 main departures that day, so we had to preserve our energy.

We started just before 8 in the morning, in the woods it was already very warm, we did well though and we reached the Chalet Reynard without much pain actually. After a short break we continued up, the exposed part of the climb, but we had a sunny day without much wind and big smiles on our faces while we continued on up.

IMG_3811

The famous yellow kilometer-signs where telling us we where almost there and we arrived at the top together with a great sense of accomplishment, what a rush is this. Yes flowy downhill trails in Trans Provence-land are fantastic, this is also epic.

The temperature was also epic, at nearly 40-42 degrees we attempted to ride down to Sault, after a short while we gave up. If going down was this hot… coming back up was going to be nearly impossible… We’d had to settle for the one climb from Bédoin and attempt more another time.

We made it!

IMG_3379

 

 

Trans Provence day 5: best day ever!

We’ve said it before, but day 5 was the über best day ever, ever! We started out climbing… nothing new here. But we’ve started to get the hang of it, actually we are starting to like and enjoy it. Perhaps it was because the end of the week was getting awefully close, to deny that fact we choose to thoroughly enjoy the torture of walking up with a bike poking on your neck. I miss it now…

IMG_1539

Today we had a gast joining our group, a small Tibetan Terrier deserted his master to go trailriding with us. On our first break he measured everyone in the group to see if any of us was willing to donate food to him. By this time we where living on sour sweets, not dog food so he was well out of luck. We waited but no sign of his master and we had to carry on, and he followed loyally.

We tried to discourage him to continue, but he was adament and we eventually called his master (who left his phonenumber on the dogs collar). The person we spoke was the owners wife, anad we agreed that we’d take Elou (I think that was his name, eventhough we all called him Benji, because he looked like a Benji) along to our lunch break. We needn’t worry about the dog, he’d be fine and we carried on.

DCIM101GOPRO

A great ride, well exposed and ungulated and ended in a wicked descent into town. Elou was having the time of his life and Ash started to like having him around, telling Elou where to run behind him. The little bugger was a very obedient dog actually. Our descent ended in a little square where his mistress was waiting for him, knowing he was in trouble, he hid under our field-kitchen-table but was carried off anyway. Bye Bye!

The lunch never tasted as good and in the afternoon it was Julia’s turn again. More ungulated riding and plenty of exposed bit too. Too exposed for some, but we had the time of our lives. This was epic riding and yeah the best day ever.

Day 5

Trans Provence day 3: we shredded!

We woke up on day 3 feeling pretty great, we had a very tasty meal the other night, a great room and proper sleep quality, and we had some clean riding gear.

What are we having today Julia?

‘Today’, Jullia announced ‘there is NO uphill, I promise not more then 40 pedal stroked necessary guys… it’s a rest-day’.

Yes, 7 smiling bikers at breakfast ready for another awesome day, bring it on!

Ash drove us up to Col des Champs at 2080m altitude through walls of snow where we started our 40 pedal strokes through the meadow (all while humming ‘the sound of music’). And there it was… the one and only walk-up of the day. Easy peasy, right?

IMG_3287


Picture: Julia Hobson

So long Cube… or not

We were only minutes away on the first stage down and I heard a “Help!” behind me, I quickly warned Sam who was just about to turn the corner and I walked back up. What happened?

Georg already grew tired of his Cube (that he later this summer would replace with ‘Mary’ the Liteville) and tossed it over the edge… a good 40-50 meters down. Sorry Georg but you’ll need it to get to the finish, so you better go and get it back.

DSC01212

image

After all that we kept a close eye out for the Cube, making sure George wouldn’t toss it again. The rear-wheel was in bad shape, it was eventually kicked back into-somewhat-shape for him to complete the Trans Provence, but it was clear. The end of life of the Cube was getting closer.

Best day ever!

Day 3 was the new best day ever (later we’d found out we would say that about almost every day). We where also one of the lucky few to have ridden the Grey Earth (got the pictures), it would sadly be distroyed a few weeks later.

DCIM101GOPRO

Near the end of the day I lost my balance and ended in a ditch without being able to get myself out of it. After Annemieke and Sean where done lauching at me (thanks guys) they pulled me out and we finished the epic day of shredding.

We even got a compliment from Ash that made us smile from ear to ear for the whole week “you girls shredded today” …yay!

:-D finishing the day with a Grimbergen for all, another best day ever.

IMG_3294

Day 3

Schermafbeelding 2014-03-31 om 19.55.13

Big rides are the new black

foto 1

So our car broke down (it eventually got repaired but it took a while) and I wanted to meet my friend to go for a ride. She and her husband live a lot more south and I did’t want her to drive all the way up. So I decided to ride up to Rheden to meet her there, go for a ride and a drink before I’d ride back home again.

foto 2

The route near Rheden (Posbank area) is about 50km’s with 572 m uphill. For me to ride to the closest part of the route is only 13km, that’s not bad right? I got in Rheden in only 2 hours time and we went for a short ride together, talked and had a drink before I took off again.

foto 5 The east side of the route I had never ridden before, that it so odd! And it’s actually very beautiful, in the end I was almost too hungry to enjoy it, silly me packed to light on the food department. So I ended up with a massive bucket of McD fries and the first soda in months, I figured I earned it this time. After 95km and 1100m uphill and a Strava suffer score of 327, OMG indeed. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat, only with more food!

camber

One happy Camber ;-)

Where to begin? Yes, the Camber Evo finally arrived a little sooner than anticipated even. First impression: the size is spot-on! I’m glad I have the medium and my LBS was smart to set me up with a shorter stem to start with and it fit’s like a glove. One less thing to worry about.

camber_riserOne thing I did straight away, exchange the stock riser. I think it was too ugly to look at, I had a Bontrager Carbon riser and even though that may be a sin on a Specialized bike, they look good together. After my initial rides I’m reconsidering my preference for a 720mm width, going wider.

After removing the flats and covering my chainstay I was finally ready for a ride. First ride was mellow and I felt comfortable and happy. I had Ground Control on the Roval wheels to install the Purgatory/Butcher set on my new wheels. The Ground Controls didn’t fullly do it for me.

camber_tanjaThe first full trail ride on Sunday was awesome, the Reba kept up pretty decent, a Pike with a little offset may be the cherry on the pie, but I’m not complaining so far. I can’t believe how easy the Camber Evo climbs, I didn’t miss the brain, it works that good. And never did the Camber feel ‘big’, it’s compact and I like how easy it handles. I think I’ve found my match, this bike seems perfect for me.

 

Specialized Camber Evo 29

The Specialized Camber Evo 29 is coming (soonish)

The Specialized Stumpjumper has been sold (sigh) and the Specialized Camber Evo 29 is nearly done, waiting for some parts in the shop. You know I’m holding my breath here! A few other upgrades are next on my list for the next few months:

  1. Ryde Trace trail rims on Hope Evo hubs: are already on their way.
  2. Rock Shox Pike: all reviewers on these types of bikes agree: 32mm just doesn’t cut it. Adds some weight sadly, but the added qualities can’t be argued with.
  3. Easton Haven Carbon bars with Haven stem: they’ll look great!
  4. Lighter cassette and chain (you know… being nerdy about things)
  5. Crank Brothers Candy’s in red: just because..

 

Epic rides, friends an my mountain bike