6000 Dutch cyclists, some very expensive road bikes, an awful lot of bananas, boxes of krentenbollen (currant buns), thousands of litres of sports drink, several tonnes of penne bolognaise at the finish and, for us, a little over five hours in the saddle…the 6th annual Classico Boretti ride.
It’s an event sponsored by Boretti, makers of Italian kitchenware, timed to celebrate the start of the Giro d’Italia. This was the third time I’d had a crack at it, and the longest distance I’d dared to attempt.
There were options of riding 65, 110 or 165 kilometre routes, weaving through the countryside south-west of Amsterdam.
Always one to take the middle road, I signed on for 110kms. That’s a stretch for me, and I increased the degree of difficulty by riding my cyclocross bike with its knobbly tyres. Carbon fibre road bikes were definitely the norm, but I chose to go for comfort rather than speed. And I’ve never ridden a road bike.
My cycling companion Chris did even better. He’d flown over from Carnavon, Western Australia, two days earlier, to start a four-month cycling tour of Europe, scheduled to finish at the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy. To get off a plane and ride the Boretti on a collapsible touring bike was an achievement worthy of respect.
The day was fine, the course was flat, the roads were safe, the route was always interesting and the only enemy was the wind. Oh, and the bridges…
The wind hit me full in the face at about the 103 kilometre mark and pushed me backwards as I struggled towards the finish.
Pain (in the arms, the neck and, worst of all, the backside) is soon forgotten. We rolled over the finish line and congratulated our fellow riders. When my GPS computer had factored in the trip to and from the start/finish line in the Haarlemmermeerse Bos (Haarlem Lake Forest), I had 124.96km on the clock, average speed 23.5kph. A good effort, I thought.
I was most impressed by the high tech filming of the event. A chip in the sticker on my bike apparently triggered fifteen video cameras stationed along the route. As we passed, they called ‘action’ and burst into life.
If anyone apart from Chris and me is interested in watching the video, you can see us filmed from various flattering angles in several different locations by clicking here.
I’m the one in the blue helmet and CSC disguise. Chris is the one in the lime green, pumping his legs furiously to turn those little wheels. He finished ahead of me, incidentally – not that it was a race, of course!