Cycling camp Les Deux Alpes 2023

After last year's success, we organized a cycling camp in Les Deux Alpes in the French Alps from 14 to 19 June 2023 for the second year in a row. This edition was one day longer than last year, so that meant even more kilometers in our legs.

14 cyclists took part this year. For Tim, Rono, Jan-Willem, Michaël, Pietro, Deborah, Marc, Winand, Hans and Kees it was their second edition. For Stijn, Albert, Anja and Trenton it was their first cycling camp. It was a mix of Belgians, Dutch, a Kenyan, a Canadian and an American. 

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 This year we had an amazing cook at the camp, named Navin. The feeling that you don't have to do anything after an Alpine ride and that there is already food on the table, that is exactly like a professional cycling life! The food was delicious every evening.

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During the first stage, Col d'Ornon and the famous Alpe d'Huez were on the program. A little beyond Bourg d'Oisans was Col d'Ornon. Hardly anyone had climbed this mountain before. But the climb was smooth, not much traffic, calm and not too steep parts with a maximum of 10% over a distance of 10.5 km. At the top, the first of many photos were taken.
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After everyone had reached the top, we decided to cycle back down together to the start of Alpe d'Huez, because our 2 ladies were waiting for us: Deborah and Anja. They started together with the men, but of course everyone came up at their own pace. And Michaël and Kees stayed with their wives for physical and mental support, which was very gentlemanly of them.

While most of our riders reached the top around the hour and sat having a coffee, Anja and Deborah toiled on meter by meter with occasional rest breaks in the 21 iconic corners. On the way Tim (who had already reached the top) brought them some water. What an perfect water carrier.

At the top of Alpe d'Huez there was 'Le Grand Moment' for Deborah. Her happiness could be heard almost as far as the valley! Our men patiently waited for her to congratulate her. What a team. Anja also reached the top, but on the other side, because Kees and Anja had taken a slightly different route.
Congratulations ladies. That evening we immediately opened a bottle of champagne. 

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The second stage was La Marmotte on the program. La Marmotte is an international race with more than 5000 meters of altitude. This cyclosportive is the ultimate challenge for many cyclists. The route starts with the Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe in combination with Col du Galibier and ends at the top of Alpe d'Huez.

Very early at 7.00 in the morning we left together in a group because it was going to be a long very hard day. Last year we were unable to cycle La Marmotte due to the sweltering temperatures. This year the weather was perfect for this. Not too hot and not too cold.
Deborah and Anja took a well-deserved rest day, and Jan-Willem would take care of us that day by supplying us with drinks, food and rest breaks at various places. It would have been even harder without him. On the first mountain, the Croix de Fer, we stayed together and we enjoyed the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, but in the end it became an individual challenge. 

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Due to a detour we had to climb an extra mountain: Col du Mollard. A nice climb, but the descent was dangerous with many hairpin bends and a very bad road surface. We felt back in Belgium for a while! Once in the valley it was a bit of a search for the main road towards Col du Telegraphe. This mountain is quite a tough long climb. But what followed was the biggest challenge for everyone. 'The roof' of our cycling camp: Col du Galibier (2640m). This was for most crawling upwards with cramps behind our ears. But once at the top between the snow and a cutting cold wind, it was a matter of warming up in Jan-Willem's car, quickly taking a picture and immediately going down. For some of them it was even an emotional moment to reach this top. But that is just as unique about this mountain because you have to push your limits to make it.
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In the quite dangerous and long descent with many tunnels it was descending to the cycling camp. Most wisely decided to ignore Alpe d'Huez, not counting Kees and Tim. Because these 2 guys couldn't get enough of it and climbed to the top of Alpe d'Huez. What an achievement. Everyone was completley tired, but also very proud of what they had achieved. A unique experience that they may never experience or want to experience again.

We also cycled for the country of Tajikistan that day, all wearing the same Tajikistan outfit. Click here for more information about this new project.

The third stage we all decided to take it easy. All together quietly cycling in the valley along the river, drinking a coffee on the way and taking some nice pictures. Some still decided to climb Les Deux Alpes, but for most of them it was enough that day and decided to have a ping pong game in the evening. But here too it was hard against hard but in a healthy, fun way.
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But it wasn't just cycling. We also made time for in-depth conversations and also organized a movie night. We all watched the movie The Jesus Revolution (A must see).

The Jesus movement of the 1960s and 1970s began in California and quickly spread around the world. We talked about it after the movie and each had our opinion about the church and faith. This movie definitely had an impact on everyone in a positive way. We felt a certain connection with each other. That's how God wants it. Unity with each other.

The last stage went out in small groups or individual rides. Some climbed the tricky Col de Sarenne and Col du Sabot. Others chose Alpe d'Huez, Col d'Ornon, Les Deux Alpes, Col de Lauteret or the other side of Col du Galibier.
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Unfortunately, there was also some panic that day. Tim fell hard to the ground during the descent of Alpe d'Huez. He was alone on the road and couldn't go any further. We went to get him by car and brought him to the camp. That's where we did the first care because he had a lot of abrasions and pain in his shoulder. Fortunately, he was able to travel to Belgium the next day. He went to the hospital for further examination. His shoulder capsule and the ligament from his collarbone to his shoulder are torn. So he will have to rest for a while but it could have been much worse.
In the evening we had a delicious dish to finish and we talk about this camp and about the future plans for the next camp next year. It was another great experience for everyone. We are already looking forward to new cycling adventures. But now let's take some rest and dreaming away from the past beautiful days.
Click here for more photos of the cycling camp.
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