Feeling somewhat pleased

With 10 weeks to go, I’m looking back at a ride I did last Saturday. I was supposed to do about 3 hours, but I figured the weather was going to be great (though a bit hot) and we have long days now. So… what better time than another long slow ride?!

My favourite things

I have been working on creating a new gravel route near my hometown for a few weeks. Where I live we have a lot of gravel, it might be the best place in the Netherlands. Apeldoorn is in the centre and I can go in any direction and find epic gravel roads. Last few weeks I created a route south of Apeldoorn that would focus on smooth gravel only. Because what Apeldoorn also has: loose sand, single trails and bumpy forest roads. I managed a loop of 65km from my home of just asphalt or smooth gravel. It’s called “These are a few of my favourite things” because I was singing it the first time I was putting the route together. And because it’s all my favourite gravel things connected in one loop.

However, 65km isn’t a long slow ride. It’s a very nice loop for my routine training on Saturday, but for a propper long slow, I needed more distance.

Last year I attempted the Veluwe Maximaal route (250 km) from Gijs Bruinsma. But my buddy got injured and we had to stop. I managed to continue up until 200 km but not more because I have a problem… or a phobia perhaps? Of boars. After a close encounter, I fled the forest and cycled on the roads to hit my 200km marker.

Long slow without boars, please

This year, no buddies were available and 250km demands an early start and late finish. All by myself in Boarland near the edge of the night? No way.

So, instead, I opted to create a new route, combining “These are a few of my favourite things” with the Kroondomein (aka Boarland). I ended up with almost 150 km and because it was going to be so hot, I started at 6:30 in the morning. First my favourites (less to no boars) and do Boarland while the boars are sleeping to avoid the heat. So I’d rather face heat than boars apparently…

It was scorching hot that day, but most of my ride was in the forest with shade and a bit of wind. Only in Boarland, I was suffering from the heat, there were some exposed paths in the burning sun. Up until then I was feeling pretty good about my fitness and how well it was going.

Normally if I arrive home with 149,1 km on my Garmin, I’d take a detour to make it a full 150 km. But this time I couldn’t be bothered. I needed to cool down and lay down.

Pretty pleased

All and all… Considering I am about 1.000 km behind in my original training plan due to having covid and other health issues, I can’t help but feel very pleased with myself. The ease of how the first 130km felt, was especially pleasing. Training my core and my back for the past 6 months with laser focus is a bigger help than I could have imagined. The impingement in my hip is getting better, but I’m not hopeful it will ever disappear. I might just have to deal with it for the rest of my life. This means rigorous core stability training, training my back and maintaining attention to how I walk, stand, sit, or even sleep. Yes kids, don’t slouch!