Beuningen Hell

This week our CEO, Gerda Wever, talks about her experience in the Beuningen Classic.

Just this April 27, Team Write Room Press joined the 100 kilometer Beuningen Classic, which was post-event momentarily renamed Beuningen Hell. It started out nice enough; the days leading up to the event the weather had been nothing but glorious, warm and sunny. Yet that Sunday I woke up to overcast skies.

When I left to meet my team member it was slightly spitting. I wasn’t worried though as I’d heard the weather forecast—it was going to be cool but clear up soon for a mix of sun and cloud. Perfect! I rejected various attempts of my teammate to take his long (and rain proof) pants, shoe covers, and additional jackets—I was not going to need those! I was going to warm up in no time and nail this ride.

First hour or so no problem, we are going steady at 25k/hr and in very good spirits. After that the rain starts picking up quickly. I’m still chipper and cheerful and holler out on various occasions, “It’s clearing up!” My teammate finally sets me straight by saying, “No it’s not, you’re just being an optimist. It’s raining harder all the time.”

At this point I am absolutely soaked. The water swirls around in my shoes, a swish swish with every push down the peddle. Going downhill is torture—the wind cuts right through my soaked clothes, makes me shiver and shake, and my teeth start rattling. Despite my sorry state, his comment sends me gut laughing. Yes, it’s downpour!

Some 60k into our ride we see a small kiosk in the middle of nowhere. We look at each other and no words are needed, we are going in. With water spilling from my jacket, helmet, and shoes, leaving a wet trail wherever I move, I go up to the counter and ask for whatever that’s warm. I get a hot chocolate but am shaking so uncontrollably that I spill most of it.

The reactions from other patrons tell me that I am a sorry sight: People give me their jackets, they close the doors, they turn on heaters, and I am offered free coffees. I am also given garbage bags to wear under my soaked jacket to protect my core from the wind and more water.

The kind gestures, many cups of hot chocolate and coffee, and a kroket sandwich warm me up, and we still have got to finish this thing. I put garbage bags on then wring my jacket out as best I can and put it back on. During the final 40k, the rain eases up at last and the final 10k we actually ride in sunshine.

While the rain and cold temperatures made this far more challenging than I had anticipated, we finished, had a few good laughs, and the post ride hot bath and glass of red wine—not to mention an awesome dinner out with my teammate and his lovely wife—did wonders. Beuningen Classic/Hell, we’ll be back in 2015!