Together we are BEAT Cycling Club!

Adelheid Smit

The BEAT Ride: Giro d’Italia would be my third BEAT Ride. I survived the last BEAT Ride: Paris-Roubaix, in and around Breda, with many cobblestone “secteurs.” I was awaiting the next BEAT Ride with excitement. I had a presentiment this BEAT Ride would be a challenge for me because of the name of the ride: Giro…

My name is Adelheid Smit. I am 59 years old and an enthusiastic BEAT pioneer since February 2017. I met BEAT through a friend, and I knew right away that this would be a club where I feel at home. In addition, I would like to contribute to the growth of this fantastic initiative!

I like to ride on the “Utrechtse Heuvelrug,” but when I heard about Valkenburg I was quite nervous. Valkenburg has a lot of climbs. I had ridden here before on my own, but for God’s sake how was I supposed to keep up with a group? In the Flevopolder we only know headwind, and the highest hill is the Stichtse Brug.

The BEAT Club Meetup in Zwolle took place soon after the announcement of Valkenburg as the starting location. When I saw Sam and Geert I shared my thoughts. They became immediately enthusiastic when I told them my biggest wish: I want to learn how to climb. The reason? Most of the time I ride too hard at the bottom of the climb, only to discover 100 meters later that I’m imagining the wrong climb, with all the associated consequences. I doubt I’m the only one. The solution was found very quickly: “Then we’ll just add a clinic!” So I left the Club Meetup full of confidence. In the car I thought, “What nice guys. This is BEAT: listening to your members and pioneers and immediately acting.”

 May 7, 2017 – When we arrived at the Amstel Gold Xperience in Valkenburg, we were told: “Look, there he is: Sibe Smets, your mentor for today.” An enthusiastic young man with a big smile and the physique of a superfast rider. “This is going to be a hard day,” I thought. I remembered Sibe as the guy who rode with only 4 bar in his tires. This lightweight rider would go full gas on the climbs.

But what a lovely day it was. Sibe and his father, Erik, both pioneers and both men who like to share their knowledge, can make you so enthusiastic about the climbs, and they offer a lot of compliments – a positive approach to explaining how to climb. Nice climbs were selected for us, with even nicer descents. The frosting on the cake was the Cauberg. It was hard to ride, but our mentors showed us how to climb and especially how not to climb.

These two guys represent what BEAT wants to be: a club where everyone is welcome and respected and can ride within his or her own limits, learn a lot of new things, have a nice day, practice safety on the road, and meet new people. Together we are BEAT Cycling Club!

I learned a lot today, and I had so much fun and met two nice BEAT pioneers. It was really worth the 450km trip.

I look forward to my next BEAT Ride!!! The number of women participating is not yet in proportion with the men. I hope my story here can help change this.