Event report The Ride Dolomites 2018 – 750km / 17,500m vertical ascent in 6 days. Average temprature 26C.

The Ride Dolomites has been nothing less than amazing. That is if you like cycling. The Dolomites are breath-taking in various ways. The stunning beauty of the very peculiar and dramatic shaped peaks. Riding through its vineyards, climbing its steap peaks…all underneath a blue sky and burning sun.

The Ride Dolomites is a cyclist dream. A super well organised cycling event where everything is taken care off, so the riders can fully focus on cycling. From the nutritious meals coocked in portable kitchens, the feeding zones in the race, the physios, paramedics (who made me arm wrestle in the ambulance to check if my clavicula was broken. It was broken, i still won though 🤪), the people building up and breaking down the start & finish villages, the motards guiding us at every etape, the racedirectors shouting us to the top of every col and their very entertaining post diner presentations, the photographer (@wielerbeeld), the guys from Cut to Black for their daily audio visual presents, the guys from @mechaniekeramersfoort to keep our bikes in top shape before, after and during the ride and off course all the participants amongst whom was a great sense of comradery.

Best of The Ride Dolomites was the company of my team mate and big sis Annemarie Persyn with whom i formed team “De Persyn Trein” (“The Persyn Train – rhyms in Dutch). I enjoyed all of the above twice as much because we shared this great experience together.

By the end of day 1, there was a minute where we saw our cycling dream falling to pieces when Röntgen photos clearly showed my clavicula (collarbone) was in two pieces as a result of a crash in a hairpin. Fortunately we managed to turn that nightmare scenario around into an opportunity. Her love and super support – carrying my bags, helping me to (un)dress, pulling on my brace and worse, washing my sweaty brace and cycling gear after every etape – were invaluable. I was happy to return a slight bit of the offer to set the pace uphill. To then see her, in a split second, vanish in a little pink dot on the descents. She is a great cyclist. I would describe her style as ‘Souplesse’ which is quite the contrast with my more sheer force based peddaling style. Nevertheless our cycling style, our lame humour is very similar which resulted in hilarious moments on and off the bike. Not ideal when cycling up a 15% steep section, but damned priceless!

Some take aways:

* How to turn a dark scenario into what ended up to be the best thing that could have happened to me. You can only call yourself a true cyclist once you broke your clavicula. Therefore, happy to finally call myself a cyclist after my dad bought me my first racebike in the early 80’s. Breaking this on day 1 of a 6 day ride is far from ideal and something that i had to accept, but on my terms. As soon as I felt that cycling was still possible, it made me want to go twice as much. I probably would have pulled a slightly stronger performance without my injury, but i’m happy to have not needed to use this inconvenience as an excuse for my performance last week.

* Once again, nature works healing. Being amongst the dramatic giants of the Dolomites fills you with some sort physical and mental – call it “will” – power.

* Riding is the answer….especially in stunning scenary with loved ones.

Looking forward to The Ride Pyrenees 2020