Marcel van Herten


Thijs' man made mountain

Every cycling fan will remember the headline from the summer of 2011: 'The Dutch Mountain'. Former Pro Conti rider, writer and reporter Thijs Zonneveld came up with the fantastic idea of building a real alp in The Netherlands. Many companies and especially cycling and winter sports fanatics were enthusiastic. Unfortunately the dream died out on the drawing board.

Vollrahter Höhe

But our eastern neighbors already did it once a few decades ago. Less high, about the origin can be many a discussion because let's face it it certainly shows how man is able to change landscapes. But with the Vollrather Höhe is not far across the border in Limburg a nice challenging 'mountain'. This so-called Abraumhalde (German for the released material from opencast mining of the surrounding lignite mines) towers with its 187 meters over 100 meters above the surrounding landscape.

The Vollrather Höhe is now heavily forested and equipped with several paved roads that together form 3 ascents from the villages of Neuenhausen, Frimmersdorf and Allrath. Each with a length of about 2 km and about 100 m of elevation. With some twisting and turning it's a mere 350m of climbing in ca. 20 km if you connect them with start and finish at 'Parkplatz Welchenber' in Neuenhausen.

Photo: Marcel van Herten

As long as Thijs' dream doesn't become a reality in the Dutch polder, we can do some practice in the Rheinisches Braunkohlenrevier on this man-made-mountain. Would you like to combine the Vollrather Höhe with a fun and varied route? Then start from 'the Boshut' on the edge of the National Park Meinweg in Herkenbosch. Good parking and nice terrace on return with a delicious menu. Via a beautiful and mostly car-free route over the plateaus of the river Roer you cycle to the Vollrather Hohe.

Photo: Marcel van Herten

Kaffee und Kuchen

Great advantage of Germany, the bakery in every village you pass through is also open on Sundays and serves good coffee and tasty Kuchen more than once. Beautiful views over the German part of the Rurtal and even the Eifel in the distance bring you back to the Netherlands with a tough finale full of tough slopes!

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