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Team Alpecin at the Fred Whitton

Team Alpecin At The Fred Whitton
The UK squad of 2019 Team Alpecin started at the legendary cyclo sportive event Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District. The first time they rode together as a team in a race. In our blog they tell us about their feelings and impressions during the "Fred".

Marie-Louise Kertzman: Working closely with my teammates, we churned through the miles

“At 185km long, with close to 4,000m of climbing, Fred Whitton presented the ultimate challenge for me. Having never ridden over 125km before, I was facing unknown territory, and I had no idea how my body – and mind – would cope.

Heading up to race day, I was extremely nervous. Falling asleep the night before, I tossed and turned, imagining every possible outcome of the following day. Somehow, I drifted into sleep, and before I knew it, the morning dawned. Clear, bright, a little cold.I forced my breakfast down, and went through the motions, in my mind telling myself I could stop at lunch if everything went south.

As we gathered around the start, and were ushered into the road, shouts of good luck followed us as we clipped in, and pushed off down the road. Within minutes, we settled into a rhythm and with every pedal stroke, my nerves melted away as the tarmac rolled beneath us. This was to set the tone of the day. Working closely with my teammates, we churned through the miles, reminding each to eat, drink, and soak in the views. Those views will stay with my for the rest of my life. They have to be seen to be believed – vistas and panoramas made of winding roads, sheer climbs, and glassy lakes. The kilometres went by faster than I ever imagined, and I even found myself a little sad as the final kilometres ticked onto my Wahoo – knowing that the day was coming to a close. Crossing the finish line, the feeling of elation was overwhelming. I had achieved something I had told myself was impossible, and proven myself wrong. It’s a lesson, and an experience, that will stay with me for a lifetime.”

Michael Rammel: Spectators shouted 'Alpecin'

“Alpecin Cycling showed the local residents of the Lake District in the North of England exactly what it is to be a part of this team. We came, we took part positively, we had fun and we were fast! We all finished with a smile.

On a day when the UK weather was kind, the light blue Alpecin Jersey’s stood out the among a sea of riders. Spectators shouted “Alpecin!” as we rode past and cheered us on. Other riders caught up to us to ask what the team was all about and were impressed and envious in equal measures with the support that we had from Sascha, Jenni, Sarah and Daniel, who, along with members of the Kendal Cycle Club, put on dedicated Alpecin Feed stops at strategic points along the route. It was about as close to racing like a pro as you can get. What an incredible experience! Alpecin made waves in The Lakes this weekend – I’m proud of us all, both riders and staff.

Next up; L’Etap Du Tour in July, where we’ll race as a complete international team. I can’t wait!”

Nick Mayer: One of my favorite weekends I have spent cycling

“What an amazing weekend of cycling, we were truly spoilt! I think this was one of my favourite weekends I have spent cycling. Alpecin Cycling treated us to another world class event. As cyclists the only thing we had to worry about was making it round the course, everything else was taken care of. Our hotel was literally a stones throw from the start line, which made the 06:00 start time so much easier. The bikes were all taken care of by the awesome mechanic Sascha, no problem was too big or small.

On the Saturday we had some of the guys from Kendal Cycle Club take us on a warm up ride around some of the quiet country lanes in the area that only riders with local knowledge would know about. They took us up one of the challenging climbs that would feature in the Fred Whitton Challenge, Blea Tarn, with a modest 25% incline! The views from here were simply incredible. Then it was time to sign on and collect our race numbers, followed by a nice afternoon of relaxing and preparing ourselves for the early start on Sunday morning. We sat down as a team and went through the route together, discussing different climbs, descents and areas where we could recover. We did not have to worry about stopping at busy feed stations as Alpecin gave us an insight to that pro team lifestyle with our own feed stop at the top of Whinlatter Pass. Each rider had their food and water bottles laid out ready for their arrival. Simply awesome support. 

On the Saturday we had some of the guys from Kendal Cycle Club take us on a warm up ride around some of the quiet country lanes in the area that only riders with local knowledge would know about. They took us up one of the challenging climbs that would feature in the Fred Whitton Challenge, Blea Tarn, with a modest 25% incline! The views from here were simply incredible. Then it was time to sign on and collect our race numbers, followed by a nice afternoon of relaxing and preparing ourselves for the early start on Sunday morning. We sat down as a team and went through the route together, discussing different climbs, descents and areas where we could recover. We did not have to worry about stopping at busy feed stations as Alpecin gave us an insight to that pro team lifestyle with our own feed stop at the top of Whinlatter Pass. Each rider had their food and water bottles laid out ready for their arrival. Simply awesome support. 

The race route was amazing, beautiful landscapes and spectacular views whilst cycling made the time go so fast. We were so lucky with the weather, it was almost perfect riding conditions – warm in the sun and minimal winds. The Lake District in the sun truly highlights the beauty of this country and I am so pleased that many visitors got to see see this outstanding area of natural beauty. There were so many “wow” moments, from cycling through quaint English villages to arriving at the bottom of a descent to a calm crystal clear lake. 

There were crowds of people on the hills cheering us all on, people ringing cow bells, locals shouted encouragement as we cycled past them, even car drivers beeped, cheered and waved in support – the support from so many people was overwhelming. 

It is going to take something very special to top that as a weekend of cycling.”

Image rights: Alpecin Cycling / Mick Kirckmann

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