Anneleen Bosma is one of the first riders to join the Struggle Double crew having completed the two hardest Yorkshire sportives in the same season. Wondering if you can do the Struggle Double? Find out how Anneleen rates Struggle Dales against Struggle Moors here.
Why Do The Struggle Double?
“I was really terrible at riding up hills; I’m from the Netherlands and we don't have hills there after all! I was always the last one to get to the top, so at the end of 2016 I decided I wanted to improve my climbing.
“My friend and I basically googled hardest/hilliest sportives in the UK and the Struggle Dales came up! When the email came out about the Struggle Moors, we decided we may as well sign up for that one too!”
Dales V Moors
“The Dales is the Moors' little sister! The Dales was the perfect preparation for the Moors. Both are a Struggle, but the climbs were steeper and relentless in the Moors. Completing both gave me a huge sense of achievement.”
“Training for and completing The Struggle Double really helped me improve my climbing and long-distance riding over the whole year. On top of that, you get two incredible days of riding in beautiful surroundings with great views on top of the climbs; don't forget to look up when you're riding to take in the awesome views.”
Image Credit: Rapha
“Park Rash was the hardest part on the Struggle Dales sportive. With 52 miles in the legs already, it's a 1.2 mile climb averaging 10%! Two Stoops, which is the last climb of the day, was pretty tough too but not as steep.
“But Rosedale Chimney on Struggle Moors is the hardest point of both tough Yorkshire sportives. Although this is not the steepest climb on this route it felt the hardest as it comes at 91 miles in. I am not ashamed to say that I walked part of this climb. Oh, and then there's a bit of a climb all the way to the end that no-one tells you about to finish you off!”
“I love the camaraderie of everyone suffering on the climbs as you're all in it together. Another highlight is obviously finishing! Struggle Moors is one of the hardest rides I've ever done and completing it just felt amazing.”
Anneleen tackles Park Rash on Struggle Dales
“I trained for both the distance and the hills every weekend. I’d alternate between longer and flatter rides (160-200k) one week and hilly, slightly shorter rides (80-120k) the next week.”
“Training for The Struggle Double taught me to have a more efficient cadence when climbing. I was using the higher gears so I was tiring my legs out more than necessary. I also learned to spin out the legs during a descent so that I was ready for the next climb.”
“Fuelling is super important during the Struggle sportives. Eat regularly during your ride, even when you don't think you need it yet.
“Recovery is very important too! After Struggle Dales I took a few days off the bike to recover and then had a lighter week of training after that. I don't push as much and just spin my legs at a higher cadence to get the blood flowing again. It did take me a little longer to recover from the Moors, but with good nutrition and rest I was back on my bike quite soon after.”
Both Struggle Dales and Struggle Moors have you riding through all elements, as you go over Moors and down Dales. Wear layers to protect you from these elements, but make sure you can take them off and put them in your pockets if it gets too hot!
“Completing the Struggle sportives helped me get stronger both physically and mentally and gave me the confidence to start bike racing. I went from not being able to get up a hill to getting my Cat 2 race licence in the same year. I'm now working on getting my Cat 1 and possibly Elite race licence this year (fingers crossed).