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Article: Cycling the Elfstedentocht in preparation for the Khardung La in India.

Khardung La. Manali to Leh highway. India. avontuur, toertocht, voeding, gezond
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Cycling the Elfstedentocht in preparation for the Khardung La in India.

Jean-Jacques Francois in Winfried Hoenselaar together we did the 7 peaks of the Alps in one week. That was 2 years ago and they wondered what else there would be to do. People advised that they should go to the Khardung La. The Manali to Leh highway is considered the highest and one of the most dangerous roadways in the world and is located in the Himalayas in the extreme northwest of India. Together they will cycle these 580 km. At the end of the route, the biggest challenge awaits: the "Khardung La". With its 5359 meters, this is according to many the highest pass in the world. To reach the top, they have to cycle an average of 60 km per day for 10 days. The extreme altitude and the 2000 vertical meters that have to be overcome almost every day will be a challenge. 

Built by the Indian Army over 100 years ago, the road is only open during the summer months. Landslides and snow showers occur regularly on this route. It is therefore possible that all seasons pass in one day. How are you going to prepare for this…?

Let's break it up. First the bicycle: because of transport they have chosen to rent bicycles locally. They have no real guarantee about what they get. They have to do with a little confidence and a few photos. They do have local assistance. They go with a group of 10 others, mostly local residents. Because they have so much stuff, the local assistance will help them with the stuff they can't take with them on the bike. Another important point is, of course, clothing. The influence of the Himalayas on the temperature can be very large. It is now 46.8 degrees Celsius in Delhi. And in Manali, from where they will start, it is now 12 degrees. At night it drops to zero, they don't rule out that they will end up in the snow. Training preparation is difficult. Long distances are always good. There they will climb 2000 meters per day and cover an average of 60 km per day. That's hard to train. They sleep for several days at an altitude of 4000 meters. That is also different from what they are used to. How are you going to prepare for that. An average of 34 km races with the Moeke Spijkstra Wielerclub is good, and head into the wind in the polder is also good. But they have to do more. That is why, among other things, participating in the Eleven Cities Cycling Tour for the 10th time. 235 km would normally have been a great trip. But the weather gods had more in store for the gentlemen. Jean-Jacques' father also came along for the 7th time, seriously handsome! It was 12 hours of rain, wind and more rain. Several have not been able to finish it. “The Hell of '22' turned aroundwrote in the media. It was perfect preparation afterwards. Along the way they got their energy from the Energy Bites, a Bite every 20 minutes gives the right amount, not too much not too little. No hunger pangs, not even with the cold and rain.And then food for the journey in India. They did not follow a very specific diet in preparation. However, an ideal weight was established. Don't lose too much weight because then you also lose muscle. During the Eleven Cities Bicycle Tour you mainly saw a lot of sugar products, white bread and sweet drinks. Something that Jean-Jacques is sensitive to. His body reacts badly to that, a lot of stomach pain, bloated stomach feeling. In his search for the right food that fits his lifestyle, he came across Kalkman during Moeke Ontwakt (traditional opening of the season of the Moeke Spijkstra Wielerclub). He soon found out that a few Energy Bites are just what he needs to satisfy the hunger, get the energy and feel good with the ingredients used. 

In India, nutrition is a major challenge. Water boils at a different temperature, and does not always kill bacteria and not everything is cooked. So always grab food when available. Bring burners, because you have to be self-reliant. Water filter with you. Making lots of noodle soup and broth to strengthen. They take the Energy Bites and Energy Shots with them. A tip from us was to also use the Shots in your water bottle. Gives a nice taste to your water and provides the electrolytes you need. 

We are going to follow the stories of Jean-Jacques François and Winfried Hoenselaar and share them with you here as well. Provided they have internet access on the go, of course. So far, nice story about a nice adventure. Have fun guys, and Good Energy to you! 

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