Now it’s time to share with you my ideas and plans for 2023. In January, barely came to the sport, the motivation is back. So what is the plan for this year?
In February, basic endurance training is on the agenda. There will be one or the other longer training session again. Starting in March, intervals should also be back on the menu.
If weather and time allow it, I will participate in a “Ride for a reason” event. Either to warm up a 180 km route, or (weather permitting) also ready a 360 km route. I haven’t found any dates on the internet yet, but mostly it’s early March when “Ride for a reason” starts.
After the obligatory training camp towards the end of March on Mallorca, this year the motto is: “higher, more beautiful, further”.
Before that there is a first Gravel race in the Netherlands at the end of April (external link). With start and finish in Valkenburg, Limburg, there should be enough kilometers to ride there and back. The race counts as a qualification for the world championship in October in Italy. But the qualification is not in the foreground, because this year my focus is clearly on the ultra long distance.
So, from May on, I’m going to focus more on the long distance, paired with hopefully again training races either at the Velodrome in Geleen (external link), or at the Tom Dumoulin Bikepark (external link) in Sittard. If the opportunity presents itself, I will ride my bike to Munich in May, or from Munich to my home country. Depending on how it turns out.
June is firmly planned. On 24.06. I will start at the “Swiss Bike Adventure” (external link), about 1300 km through Switzerland, on the road, with about 27000 meters of altitude. Primarily this event will serve as preparation for the season highlight. Test of man and material. I also hope for good weather and good legs.
In July there will be the season highlight, because I will start at the #TCR09, the Transcontinental Race No.9 (external link). From Geraardsbergen near Brussels to Thessaloniki in Greece. Who now believes to have read wrong, is mistaken. It goes across the continent, with about 50000 meters of altitude over a distance of about 4000 km. You have to cycle to 4 checkpoints and complete a fixed course before or after each of them. The rest of the route will be planned by each participant individually according to their preferences. The planning will mean many hours of work. I estimated that I will need around 100 hours just for route selection. Once with Kommot to Görlitz in 2020, with the naive assumption “that the app will know” is enough for me. On the route, everything has to fit as well as possible. Because the shortest connection between two points is rarely the best from a cyclist’s point of view. Whether I will really arrive in Thessaloniki is anything but certain. Because on such long tours, something can always happen. And for me, safety comes first.
I will share more information about the preparation for the Swiss Bike Adventure and the Transcontinental Race No.9 in my blog in the coming weeks and months. There will also be a jersey campaign, with which I hope to again encourage many companies to donate.
After the Transcontinental Race No.9 there is first of all some vacation and recovery from cycling.
In September I will continue with the Iberica Traversa (external link), if the tank is not empty yet. 1800 km Gravel across Spain, from the Atlantic coast at the foot of the Pyrenees, to Tarifa, the southernmost point of the European continent. It is unlikely that I will make it from there to the Gravel World Championships in Italy on time and with form. The world championship would be, if I qualify at all, at least a good alternative, should the 1800 km be too much for me.
Should this all take place, and should I really be able to pull this off, I will then finish the rest of the year rather quietly. I don’t know if I will want to touch my bike at all then.
The whole plan is very ambitious. As we all had to realize in the last years, something can always come up. And even with optimal conditions, it is not certain to reach the respective goal. If you look at the result lists of the events of the last years, you often see “dnf” (Did Not Finish) behind the names of participants. Because on such long cyclists, solo and without support, something can always happen that makes it impossible to continue. The motto this year is not to get out of the finish as fast as possible, but to master the challenges at all, safely, and without risking one’s health. The way is the goal…