Coosto and Alpe d'HuZes: Coosto Warrior Toine

Tariq Verlinden
Creation date: 24/05/2023 14:01
Last updated: 06/06/2023 11:58

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 Toine is participating and how he is preparing for this great challenge.

Toine bike office

Toine Verheul

For years, I had the idea of climbing Alpe d'Huez on my bike, inspired by the heroic images of the Tour de France, particularly the victories of Peter Winnen (1981), Gert-Jan Theunisse (1989), Lance Armstrong (2001), and of course, Marco Pantani (1995), who set a world record with an incredible time of 36 minutes and 50 seconds. Along the climb, the route was packed with enthusiastic supporters dressed in the most peculiar clothing. Every year, there was a supporter dressed as a red devil, chasing the cyclists with a trident. Alpe d'Huez in the Tour de France was always a great spectacle and gained a mythical status.

On television, the climbs looked tough, and the riders suffered, but watching from the couch, I thought I could do it myself. Maybe I could even come close to a good time!

On June 6, 2006 (6-6-6), 66 people cycled up Alpe d'HuZes 6 times for a good cause, cancer research. There was limited media attention initially, but year after year, the media coverage grew, capturing my attention as well. I would love to participate one day, achieve a sports performance, and sponsor a good cause—a wonderful combination. But the years went by, and there was always a reason not to sign up. I was too busy, not fit enough, cycling wasn't really that enjoyable, supporting charities could be done in other ways, and so on. Until Corona emerged and gripped the world in a dreadful manner. The number of sick people and deaths increased rapidly, and the news mainly focused on vulnerable individuals and those with underlying conditions who passed away to a disease.

During that period, I got to know Maud Burgers and Marlies von Mansveldt from the Prinses Máxima Centrum for Pediatric Oncology. The trigger was an episode of Jeroen Pauw's program "Pauw komt binnen", filmed at the Prinses Máxima Centrum for Pediatric Oncology, where he spoke with children, fathers, mothers, and families about the impact of cancer, the fear, but above all, the zest for life. I happened to come across this episode, and I was captivated by the intensity, honesty, and the pure, sad, but also beautiful stories. When the episode ended, I had an irresistible feeling that I wanted to contribute, to help. That same evening, I sent an email to Maud, stating that I wanted my company to contribute to the good work of the Prinses Máxima Centrum. The next day, I received a positive reply and was invited for a meeting. Two weeks later, I went for a visit, and after a warm welcome, a good conversation, and an impressive and discreet tour, I was even more convinced. We must contribute, and that was the start of our collaboration.

Toine & Dex

From that moment on, the Coosto management team decided to choose one charity for sponsorship, and that was everything related to cancer research. We were already sponsors of Alpe d'HuZes, but we had never participated in the event. That had to change, and besides, it was an opportunity to climb Alpe d'Huez and make a contribution. In December 2022, I sent an email to the entire company, announcing that we were registering for Alpe d'HuZes 2023. And so it happened, but there was a small detail, and that was the preparation.

By nature, I am quite positive and somewhat limitless in my thinking. Climbing that mountain on a bike couldn't be that difficult, right? The videos on YouTube of cyclists effortlessly riding up the mountain confirmed my suspicion—climbing Alpe d'Huez is quite doable. I wasn't in a hurry to train because I believed it wouldn't be that challenging. At the end of February, I decided to do a simulation training of Alpe d'Huez on my indoor bike trainer. I started off well and got into a good rhythm, but a quarter of the way up, it started to get tough, and by the halfway point, I was already quite exhausted. At 75%, I no longer found it funny and wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. Two hours later, completely drained and with a significant mental blow, I got off the bike trainer. With a sense of panic, I realized I had a problem—this was much, much tougher than I had expected, serious work was required.

Indoor trainen

I made a concise list of what needed to be done to cycle up the mountain multiple times. I needed to lose weight, sleep more, eat healthier, train more, vary my training routine, lower my heart rate, and, above all, find out how other climbers prepare. Slowly but surely, I made progress. My endurance training improved, my heart rate became more stable and lower, and my recovery also improved. But is it enough? Now, one week before the start, I still have doubts about whether I am adequately prepared, but the excitement for the event is growing. I think it's super cool that I can participate, and I won't disappoint my sponsors. On Thursday, June 1, I will be ready and give it my all, enjoy it to the fullest, and have a beautiful and extraordinary experience. Giving up is not an option.

Thank you for your support and generous donations, we're going for it!

Help Toine reach his goal and donate here 

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