New Bike Day is coming up! It’s my first road bike ever which makes it even more exciting. Almost two months ago I placed an order at canyon.com. I was looking for an all-round bicycle: nothing fancy, just something to get me started with cycling. As a Dutch guy cycling isn’t something new, but a road bike is just not your ordinary bicycle choice in the Netherlands. So coming Saturday, I’ll be picking up a Canyon Endurace AL 7.0. My brother will come along as he picked up his bike last summer. I’m excited!

The reason I’m picking up bicycling is to avoid injury from running. I’m still too heavy for running. I can feel the aches and pains when completing a running workout, and since cycling is a low-impact sport, I decided to mix it up — not entirely abandon running but slightly dialing it back a notch.

Some bike specs. Highlights: weighing in at only 8.2 kg, and awarded 8/10 by Cycling Weekly, the Endurace AL 7.0 is made for Gran Fondos and long weekend adventures – the definition of the modern do-it-all road bike. The Endurace AL 7.0 starts with a rigid and light aluminum frame, with a weight of 1350 g, and builds it up with the workhorse Shimano 105 groupset, comfortable Canyon seat post, and Aksium wheelset. Cycling Weekly’s testers praised the “great acceleration and a well thought-out geometry.”

The bike is Shimano 105 equipped. The latest Shimano 105 inherits key technologies from the Dura-Ace and Ultegra race groups, making cutting edge design details available to riders looking for value in their component selection. The robust design and seamless action give total control over shifting and braking.

What else will I be using? Well, Strava is still in place social wise. For my training, I’ll be using Training Peaks. Recording a bike ride will be done on the excellent Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. Workouts on the Elemnt Bolt will be uploaded automatically to Strava and Traingpeaks.

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M.

Making progess

It’s been a month and a half since I decided to get back into shape. I picked up running and drastically changed my diet. No more soda’s, snacks or any of that stuff. I usually get up at 5 in the morning. Do my C25K routine  (every other day and at the end of the third day two resting days). I’ll explain in another post what the C25K program is all about. I did it back in 2008, and at that time it was working for as it is now as well. A great program to start running a 5K within nine weeks.[btx_image image_id=”600″ link=”/” position=”overlapright” on_click=”none”][/btx_image]

My weight has come done, and according to my current BMI (29.3), I’m not obese anymore! So things are going great. I’m still worried about injuries as I had them in the past from running, so I ordered a road bike! Cycling is a low impact sport which means less strain on your joints.

I picked a bike from canyon.com. Canyon sells their bikes directly to their customers to keep a low price. My brother picked up cycling as well, and he mentioned canyon to me. Two weeks ago canyon had their end of season sale. A great time to buy a bike! I picked the Canyon Endurance AL 7.0. An excellent bike for beginners. The downside is that I have to wait until the beginning of December to pick it up in Koblenz, Ger.

Until then I’m riding my city bike for some short distances. I bring my kids to school in my Gazelle Cabby (in Dutch known as a ‘bakfiets’) and commute to work by bike as well as it is only 3.5K.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress!

A.

Attempting a metric century

Ever since my brother and I picked up my bike at Canyon one of the goals was to ride a metric century before the end of the year. I’ve been reading all about these epic rides and despite the advice from every single blogger not to ride 100 KM as a beginner I decided to be a rebel and follow my gut feeling.

Hills, hills, hills

I planned a route in Strava and rode it virtually in Google maps a few times to see what was ahead of me. The route gave me 1.024 m elevation gain, so a good preparation was half the ride! Climbing would start after 10K, and the highest point would be around the 43K mark (289m). I’ve been cycling around the hills the last couple of weeks so I had an indicator of how hard it would be. My biggest fear was the climb of the Epenerbaan which is the descent of the Camerig, the hardest hill to climb in the Netherlands. Besides the Epenerbaan I had to conquer the Korte Raarberg, the Bergseweg, the Eperheide, and the Piemert. After the Piemert (basically halfway) it would be downhill to Maastricht. My last 20K would take me alongside the canal which I’ve been cycling weekly now.

The best rides are the ones where you bite off more than you can chew, and live through it – Doug Bradbury

The temperature wasn’t too bad when I started this morning: around 5 degrees Celsius. The first test was the ‘Korte Raar.’ A steep little hill leading up to it’s bigger brother the ‘Lange Raar.’ The steepest part is around 11%, and it wasn’t too bad. Plenty of time to recuperate before the next hill: the Bergseweg. I followed the advice of my colleague: ride your own pace. Smallest sprocket and comfortably keeping a cadence you can hold for some time.

Don’t blow up!

Trying no to blow up. This is actually what I did the whole ride. After the Bergseweg I followed the road to Trintelen, and from there you fly to Eys. After Eys, it’s the zwartebrugweg. A steep little fucker. Took a few minutes off on top of the plateau with a beautiful view! From here it’s 10 km to Vaals which is uphill all the way. Not too bad though as it never gets too difficult. In Vaals I took a right past the police station. First, it’s downhill pretty fast until you get to the bottom of the Epenerbaan.

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I thought this one was going to be hard but overall pretty much doable. Don’t get me wrong, the part before and after the hairpin is brutal but short of a distance. Before you know it, you will begin the descent of the Camerig to Epen.

In Epen I had a short stop to refuel at the local supermarket just at the base of the Julianastraat climb to Heijenrath. After Heijenrath there is just one more climb to Hoogcruts, and that was all the climbing I had to do for today. The wind was picking up, and I had to hold on to my bike going downhill as the wind gusts nearly knocked me off my bike. After arriving in Eijsden, I finally had a tailwind bringing me in no time to Maastricht.

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A metric century: almost done

Right before Maastricht, my legs felt they were mash… I had been on the bike for 4 hours, and the saddle was giving me some discomfort. Once I was on the Kennedy bridge, I either could continue for another hour or go straight home. I decided to give it a shot and headed towards Kanne, Belgium. I instantly had a fierce headwind again and regretted my decision. I turned around and headed home. I knew the last 10K would be a struggle and not worth it.

I still had an excellent ride, and now I know what I’m into when trying to ride a metric century.