The Klimclassic is a fun route that I did with a couple of my friends back in May. The parcours starts at the very southernmost city in the Netherlands: Maastricht. The Maastricht area is also considered one of the cycling meccas of Holland. Hilly terrain instead of flat roads. Lots of gorgeous landscapes, picturesque villages and that distinct southern easygoing -ness. No city speed and aggression here. Combine that with gorgeous tarmac, tough gradient ramps and a peoples passion for the ‘koersfiets’ and you realize why the area is a favourite training ground for cyclists of all shapes and sizes.
However, our route took us straight out of the Dutch Limburg area, into the Belgian Limburg area and further down south where the hills of Limburg make way for the steep ramps of the Ardennes. And boy were they steep…
The first real test came around 60 km in. Completely unexpected we literally hit a wall that goes by the unassuming name of ‘Vois des Charts’. It’s essentially a back road between houses but you see straight away that the gradient is violent. It never drops below 11% and after 2 km of struggling up I found myself developing pain not in my legs but in my arms from jerking on the steerer!
The remaining route took us further south and right through some of the most popular Belgian cycling roads. Climbs like ‘la Redoute’ are iconic climbs where both the pros and the enthusiasts test their capabilities against one another. Sometimes scoring up to 23.000+ attempts. The ardennes have quickly developed into one of my favourite ‘local’ terrains to ride and test my legs. You cannot go undertrained (or you will surely pay the bill for it) so it offers a nice and easy way to add some diversity to your spring training on the flats and a great way to hone your form for the bigger goals ahead of you in summer..