Coosto and Alpe d'HuZes: Coosto Warrior Rob

Tariq Verlinden
Creation date: 24/05/2023 17:38
Last updated: 17/05/2024 17:06

Coosto is participating at Alpe d'HuZes 2023!

For years, Coosto has been a proud sponsor of Alpe d'HuZes. A unique sporting event dedicated to one goal: raising as much money as possible for the fight against cancer. 

Every year participants from all over the Netherlands travel to France to climb the Alpe d'Huez several times to raise money. During the first edition in 2006, there were 66 participants who together managed to raise € 370,000. Meanwhile, the Alpe d'HuZes has become so popular that in 2022, 15,000 participants managed to raise over 16 million!

This year, besides being a proud sponsor, Coosto is also a proud participant! Our three Coosto Warriors Toine, Rob and Stan will leave Tuesday, May 30 for France to participate in Alpe d'HuZes 2023 on June 1.

In this blog you can read why Rob is participating and how he is preparing for this great challenge.


Rob de Wit

I am participating because I would like to raise money for a future where cancer no longer means certain death. Cancer is all around us and two hands are no longer enough for me to keep count of all the cases in my surroundings. Sooner or later everyone will have to deal with it in some way, so I am happy to support research into ways to cure, alleviate or prevent cancer.


Going to run up that mountain is quite a challenge. To prepare, I train three times a week. An endurance run to be ready for a long effort. An interval or high tempo run to improve my performance and a training with altitude meters, which I can only do by running up and down the former garbage dump in Nuenen. In terms of nutrition I am mainly focused on recovery during and after training: fluids and carbohydrates. For muscle building sometimes some extra protein because I hardly eat any meat.

So far the training is going well. I'll get there, but my target time of 2 hours may just become 2.5 hours or more....

Help Rob reach his goal and donate here.

The day before Alpe d'HuZes

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I expected this day to be a bit weird, maybe even difficult, emotionally charged. However, it turned out to be not as challenging as I thought. I think we were too tense, anticipating what was to come. Throughout the day, we were confronted with many images of people who died from cancer and their loved ones remembering them by lit candles. We went to see the mountain by car, and the route was surprisingly steep. Even in the car, it took quite a while to reach the top. Along the way, every conversation revolved around how we were going to tackle the challenge the next day.

I also experienced a sudden knot in my calf today. Fortunately, there were volunteer physiotherapists present, and one of them was able to massage it away, although not without some pain.

We decided to start at different times: Stan at 4:30, myself at 5:00, and Toine at 6:00. So, it was an early bedtime for all of us.

The Alpe d’HuZes

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Ready, set, go!

I woke up at 4:00 due to messages from Stan and Tariq in our group chat. Trying to go back to sleep didn't help. So, I opened the window to hear the crowd gathered at the start and to feel the cold temperature of 9°C.

Yesterday, I prepared and laid out everything. Getting dressed and having breakfast was all I needed to do. I ate my brought-along milk and Brinta and headed towards the start. I had agreed to meet Tariq at the start, and fortunately, I found him quickly.

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Climb 1

At 4:53, I started my first climb. It was still dark. I passed many hikers with flashlights and lights dangling from their backpacks. The only thing on my mind was not to go too fast; there was still a long way to go.

The cyclists from my starting group had already raced ahead. The first ascent towards turn 21 was already quite steep: 10%. I saw many cyclists struggling to make their way up. Quite a few managed to stay ahead of me (sometimes just barely), but I overtook the rest! The fastest ones were already at turn 20 or even further. I kept checking my sports watch every minute to make sure I wasn't exerting myself too much.

After the battlefield of the first few kilometers, I found a rhythm where most cyclists steadily passed me while sometimes offering encouraging words. The slower cyclists and hikers were usually focused on their own challenges. I kept jogging, keeping my heart rate low in Zone 3.

Apparently, it had become light without me noticing because around 6.5 km, I saw a beautiful view of Bourg d'Oisans. I stopped here briefly to take a photo and share it. It was already 05:49, and I was almost at turn 11. I realized I was already halfway there, and things were actually going quite well. I had already tackled the steepest part. I stopped briefly again for another photo at turn 9.

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I continued running until I was surprised just before turn 3. The route was different from the one we took by car yesterday. In my delusion, I thought the exit we took with the car was a shorter route, but that wasn't the case, and it hit me. Suddenly, I saw countless people zigzagging up the landscape in front of me. I decided to walk a bit. Then suddenly, Stan came flying by on his descent, and I managed to shout congratulations to him on his birthday. With this boost, I started running again!

After turn 1, there was still nearly a kilometer of climbing through the village, and I tried to maintain my pace. People were cheering me on, and the atmosphere was incredible. I felt tired, but it didn't affect my mood at all. My first climb was completed at 07:03. At the top of the mountain I had planned to meet up with Tariq, he had warm clothes for me. However, he was not there yet, as the gondolas to get to the top did not start until 07:00.

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On the top of Alpe d'Huez

At the top of Alpe d'Huez, it is 6°C. So I just bought some long pants here and watched the other finishers. They all crossed the finish line with different emotions. Happy, crying, with pictures of loved ones and some focused only on achievement.

Suddenly I see Toine flash by, he immediately goes on for the 2nd lap. Moments later, Tariq was also on the mountain. We talked together about how the event was and how my climb had gone. I see that everyone is going through, I decide not to wait for the ‘saamhorigheids’ climb, but to go again right now! I still feel surprisingly good and also my muscles were not yet stiffened. 

To get down, it took me 1.5 hours. I had to take three gondolas and a bus. I chat with others and everyone is still going up that mountain. At the hotel I put on sunscreen and make my drinks.


Climb 2

At 10:47 I started running right in front of the hotel. In fact, this is where the start was early in the morning (moved to the beginning of the mountain in the meantime). I don't pay attention to my speed and a few turns after the steep start I feel that it is going a bit less. I walk for a while and start running again. Someone hands me an apple. I bite down and notice that I cannot eat this while running. Walking again. It is hard for me, the banners with statements of patients who have died are also suddenly more present. 

I decide to walk until the next turn, then run again, alternating that way. This happens a few times, but when I end up in a traffic jam of walkers after turn 7, I only manage to run for about 100m.  

It's not a race, just getting to the top, so don't give up!

I accept that I have to do it walking and continue until I reach turn 1. The part through the village I manage to run, but it takes a lot from me. At 13:25 I cross the finish line. Tired. Very tired, but satisfied and this is actually what I expected from the first attempt. The ‘saamhorigheids’ climb is no longer an option for me. The same goes for Toine and Stan who complete their 3rd and 4th climbs after me respectively.

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Times & Funds Raised

Climb 1: 02:10 hours
Climb 2: 02:27 hours

Personal contribution: €2.625,04
Total funds raised by Coosto Warriors: €10,982.04