September 4th 2020
The lights shine on the road of the Camerig Hill. Out of the darkness Carmen appears on her racing bicycle. Friends cycle next to her. Frank, her father, indicates she needs to make another 4 rounds to achieve the goal set; climb 8848 meters of altitude on your racebike in one day.
Tour de France (2019)
An extreme goal set by Carmen as her initial goal, ride the Tour de France with her friends from InternationElles, was stopped because of Covid-19.
Last year they did the Tour de France, riding one day ahead of the professionals. InternationElles wants to draw attention to emancipation and they succeeded doing so last year as they completed the whole Tour. An amazing achievement taking in consideration they needed to organize everything themselves regarding hotels, food, technical assistance etc. The Tour was extremely tough, sun-rain-wind and they never gave up.
When she came back we organized a ‘Rondje rond de kerk’ to celebrate her achievement.
So, on this September 4th Carmen starts a new Tour, the Everest Challenge.
Everything is planned well. Her father did rent a truck. Food, drinks and gear needed is put in baskets. She indicates what she needs on her way up and when she makes a quick stop on her way down, everything is ready.
Her aunt Anja and uncle Ronald, put their camper next to the road. Hence kitchen, bathroom soft seats, are available. A well planned day is needed as the achievement is extreme. 66 climbs of 2,3 km with an average incline of 7%, thus gaining 135 meters of height during every climb.
The weather circumstances don’t meet the expectations. Drizzle during several hours makes it hard to drive down the hill fast. Wet clothes need to be exchanged and this takes time too. The temperature however isn’t bad so she continuous riding up and down the Camerig during 17 hours and 48 minutes, which results in a 300 km ride.
The whole achievement is documented on her computer, and on her phone as a backup. This is needed as one needs to officially submit the data in order to receive the recognition of the applicable institute.
The moment I write the blog, the effort is officially recorded and now she is the third Dutch women who did it!
Family and friends gather close to the camper on a good spot on the hill, close to restaurant Buitenlust. We stay 1,5 meters away from Carmen and support her anyway we can. She later says it helped a lot, seeing the faces of her family and friends and hearing them clap their hands on her way up and down.
Some ride a bike next to her which helps and motivates her to continue. I took my handbike along and drove up 1,5 times. It felt good, climbing my favorite Limburg hill, the Camerig for the first time after my accident. Iris, Guido and Luc support me and I feel like I actually can support Carmen on her way up. Luc supports her even more, he rides up and down 10 times.
I had to stop because of the rain unfortunately. It’s simply not safe to drive downhill in a wheelchair bicycle under these circumstances. I anyhow have a big smile on my face. Pascalle documents the ride and I love her voice over on the short movie. It truly is also a nice day for the two of us. Another small achievement, another step to new possibilities. Again we used Pippi’s line: ‘ik heb het nog nooit gedaan dus ik denk dat ik het wel kan’.
It is close to midnight. The bottles of champagne pop and we celebrate Carmen’s achievement. Carmen thanks everyone for the support. Everyone is proud of her. It was great to be there and I am looking forward to her next challenge.
As from now on we will call this hill, the Carmenig!