Dutch Cycling Championship Elite without a Contract 2023, A Challenge in the Limburg Hills

Dutch Cycling Championship Elite without a Contract 2023, A Challenge in the Limburg Hills

Aug 16, 2023
Written by: Jens van den Dool

On Saturday 24 June I was at the start of the Dutch Cycling Championship for Elites without a contract, a day before the professional riders. This year the NK took place in the challenging hills of Limburg, with the finish on top of the Watersley Sports & Talentpark in Sittard. While the pros would cover an extensive route through South Limburg and six local rounds around Sittard, the Elites were ready for seven local rounds without a contract. The distance of 135 kilometers did not make it an extremely long race, but with the hills and bends it promised to be a tough task. The high temperatures that weekend added another challenge.

Preparation and Nutrition for a Challenging National Championship

In the cycling season I mainly focus on criteriums and limited classics. A criterion usually takes just under 2 hours, whereby an intake of 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per hour is sufficient. For the National Championships and classics, which often last more than 3 hours, I aim for a higher intake of about 100 grams of carbohydrates per hour. It takes practice to properly process such quantities.

Given the estimated 3 hour race duration, challenging course and expected heat, a thorough nutrition and drinking plan was of great importance. During the NK I aimed for an intake of just over 100 grams of carbohydrates per hour, in addition to sufficient fluids and electrolytes to cope with the high temperatures.

Targeted Training and Reconnaissance of the Course

Before the Nationals, I studied the course online and performed specific workouts, including high-intensity intervals ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Two weeks before the event I trained in the hills of South Limburg and explored the course. In my workouts, I practiced with higher carbohydrate intake and adjusted my clothing to be better prepared for the heat.

Challenges and Achievements at the National Championships

During the NK I felt good and maintained a prominent position. At the same time I saved energy for the final. A breakaway formed late, but in the penultimate lap I rode away with a group of 9 riders. We soon realized that this group would make up the final. In the last round, the attacks accelerated. I put myself to the test by answering attacks and taking action myself.

In the last kilometers two riders got ahead and I had the prospect of a podium finish. Despite a strong performance I had to give up my lead and eventually finished in 6th place.

Power Measurements, Power Supply and Performance

Statistics and nutrition during the match:
2x Energy Fruit Chew Cassis
2x Turbo Gel Citrus
2x Turbo Gel Cassis with caffeine

I also drank 3x Energy Drink Forest Fruit and 2x water. This translated to a total dietary intake of 340 grams of carbohydrates and 200 mg of caffeine (107 grams of carbohydrates per hour).

The match lasted 3 hours, 9 minutes and 4 seconds, with my average power being 266 watts, normalized to 335 watts. In the last hour my average power was at 291 watts, normalized at 352 watts. With an average temperature of 25 degrees and a maximum of 32 degrees, it was both a physical and mental challenge.

Thank you for reading this report. As an appreciation, I offer you a special 10% discount on your purchase with the code JVDD10. Despite the absence of victory, I am proud of my preparation and my presence in the decisive breakaway during the NK Cycling Elite without a contract 2023.

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