In 37 days I head to Rotterdam and from there to France for a month.
July 2nd - a day before the pros circle the streets of Rotterdam, fifteen intrepid Dutch lads will set out to ride the 3600 km of this year's Tour de France for Kika, a Netherlands-based charity supporting research into childhood cancers. It is a monumental challenge, perhaps the greatest test a recreational cyclist could aspire to. The prologue, twenty stages, cobbles, crosswinds, and the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees await them.
Riding all stages 24 hours ahead of the race is sure to elevate the experience; mountain stages will already be lined by fans and towns and villages en route will be buzzing with excitement as they put the finishing touches on their preparations.
Call it serendipity. Six weeks ago I first heard about this adventure when one of the riders, Simon Knops studying in the US at the time, rode and won the cat 5 race at Copperopolis. I'd taken his picture and he wanted to know if he could use it on the Kika site. It's fair to say I was immediately intrigued and two weeks ago after discussions with the team I committed to the project as the official photographer.
The logistics are daunting. Between now and June 28th there's ton of details yet to be worked out. My accommodations are booked for only half the stages. We've got some novel ideas for transport and they need to fall in place. There's gear testing, and decisions to be made about how much I take. Meanwhile the team continues to train, putting in major miles on the weekends and they have a training camp in the Alps in June to put a sharp point on that fitness. By comparison my job is easy.
To date they've raised $30,000 dollars for Kika with lots more to come. Fingers crossed I'll be able to announce a couple of equipment sponsors this week. I hope that those of you who enjoy VeloDramatic will support the cause and if you're in the industry, we're still looking for product in a few areas. I'd love to see the team get outfitted with shoes, its the final piece in the team kit that would give these committed amateur cyclists a PRO look. Arm warmers, gloves, compression gear, nutrition and supplements are all areas we could use some help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be part of this epic project and the resulting imagery.
I'll have several more updates before we roll out in Holland including an ecommerce donation link from the team shortly. Come July I'll do my best to post a daily update and photo from the road. I'm excited to part of the team and can't wait to document their journey. With the support of the luminaries of Dutch cycling (Hennie Kuiper, Laurens ten Dam, Jan Janssen, and Hennie Stamsnijder) and Ivo Opstelsten (former mayor of Rotterdam) our boys can't miss.