Saturday, 16 April 2011


Jeff completed the 150 kilometre version of the amateur sportif on Sunday 16 April. There were six versions of the race open to amateur riders, 65k, 100k, 125k, 150k, 200k, and 250k. Although registered for the 250k originally due to a chest infection Jeff opted for the 150k version on the morning of the start.

The morning was quite cold when a total of 12000 riders set out on all the different events from the town of Valkenburg at 7. 30am. Although the roads aren't closed for the event the road users in Holland are hugely respectful of bike riders. Everyone thinks that Holland is flat but this course was anything but that. The first climb of the day came after just 10k with the Geulhemmerberg popping up, not really steep but biting into lots of cold legs. The next 50k were constant up and down with a climb of about 7percent up the Walchendenburg followed quickly by the Bemelerberg. The next 40k was constantly up and down with what seemed more up than down until climbing the Loorberg another nasty little ascent of about 8 percent.
Onto the ascent of the Camerig at roughly half way. This second half was much more testing with big hills coming thick and fast. The Drielandenpunt, Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg, Huls and Bergseweg all coming very quickly one after the other.

About three quarters of the distance covered and three big tests to come! The Fromberg was a good climb up through the trees and some really welcomed shade. Then onto the legend that is the Keutenberg at roughly 16percent with an eyeball popping centre section of 23percent. Huge crowds at this section were urging all the riders on.

Then the final ten kilometres back to the town of Valkenburg. First a long fast decent around the outskirts of the town into the centre full of over spilling bars and cafes. A fast left turn at the roundabout and then the one kilometre of steep uphill to the finish. This hill known as The Cauberg is steeped in cycling history, with many famous victories being played out on its slopes. The crowds were five deep all the way up urging on the riders. Jeff completed his ride in 6 hours 20 minutes.