Team member Elke trains for her first triathlon

No triathlon: How Elke comforted herself with a 150km cycling trip

Team member Elke was training for her first sprint triathlon. So what now? Yes, it is a certainty: No organized sprint triathlon for me this year. Like many other sport enthusiasts, I had to start looking for new challenges to do by myself.

Finding a new challenge wasn’t a problem: A 150 km cycling trip on the dikes in The Netherlands. That can’t be that difficult, I thought. It had been a while since my last long bike trip, but what could go wrong? I came up with this idea on Wednesday and was planning to go on Saturday, so I had still 2 full days of getting prepared.

Food preparations

The first challenge was to find a route and a way to remember the route. I made it on Friday afternoon, written on a piece of paper, and attached it to the bike frame in the evening. That same evening, I had to visit the grocery store for some decent food (I bought a couple of gels, muesli bars, and some candy for extra sugar) and find a way to attach this food to myself or my bike. With gels in my shirt and some bars attached with adhesive tape to my frame, my food preparations were done.

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A rainy cycling trip

It was Saturday morning, and the start of my trip was great. I got my water bottles filled and left the house with perfect wind and temperature. Unfortunately, after a few hours of cycling, the rain came down and I still had to deal with the dikes. Soaked, I arrived at the first dike. I did have the whole dike to myself because there was no other idiot than me cycling on a dike with rain like a carwash. It was special, the rough sea on the side of the dike, and I have never been so grateful that I had the wind on my back. The persistent rain did became boring. I had to motivate myself with some music. A relief: I wasn’t that cold because I wore enough clothes.

Why it’s fun to do a solo ride

It is funny, there are only a few people in my area who understand that going for a long cycling trip with yourself is quite fun. If you have never done it before, you might give it try. It is safer and amusing. I do really enjoy watching all the things around me, the nature and people are quite interesting if you really observe them. Also, cycling alone gives you the opportunity to do whatever you want to. Nobody tells you to go left if you actually want to go to the right. I did had a laugh with myself when I was cycling on a dike with a road you could hardly see because of the water, what the hell was I doing?! It is difficult to explain that I really enjoyed that moment, laughing about my own actions. But it kept me motivated and a few more raindrops and dikes later, I arrived at my destination. Still soaked, but happy.

Dutch Cycling trip
Strava screenshot: The cycling trip 

The results

I cycled 154,13 kilometers in 6 hours and 15 minutes, with an average speed of 24,7 km/h. At the end of my trip, I took a ferry and my boyfriend picked me up with the car. I still felt good and energetic, but going on the ferry changed this and it became a little cold. The recovery from the trip took me a few days but the reaction of my muscles was good! I am looking forward to my next trip, hopefully without rain!

How you make your trip Corona-proof

Because of the weather, the roads were calm and quiet. This made my trip extra Corona-proof! I also choose to leave early in the morning: 08:00 AM. If you would like a long trip too, it´s better to leave early or cycle during the week instead of the weekend. On a sunny Sunday, you will bump into a lot of other cyclists and hikers.

How about the Triathlons?

My triathlon wishes will come true in the future. For now, this was my last Fred-and-Me story, but no worries: I will keep on looking for new challenges. I liked writing down my experiences of being a rookie in the big triathlon world. Even though I haven’t done a triathlon by myself yet, the feeling of being a triathlete is getting there. And who knows, in the future, I might even consider doing an Ironman. Fred would love that.

Elke (27) is a movements scientist, and she was training for her first sprint triathlon in June with her lovely bike called Fred. This was her last blog in this series. 

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