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19-05-2023 | CycloWorld redactie

3x mini trip report 3RIDES

This past weekend the 3RIDES Festival was held in Aachen. According to the organizers, the most versatile cycling event in Europe. We totally agree! Besides an expo with beautiful gear, there was a UCI Gravel Race, and sportives for both road bike and gravelbike or MTB. CycloWorld participated in all three events. High time for a short report.

3RIDES UCI Gravel Race

by Rick Groeneweg

The starting procedure in Aachen was in waves per age category where the guntime per starting section was decisive. Fair, because the net time determined the result. At the front there was now a large pro/elite starting section; no more dangerous situations for them and the other participants to ride to the front as in the previous races. Also new was the mandatory feed zone for helpers (which worked extremely well).

At the start, top sprinter Andre Greipel was in front of me, also from my M40-44 category, how cool is it to be able to race with big names! For a while I managed to follow him, but after a short stretch of asphalt I slowly felt my position slipping. As we turned onto the first stretch through a mowed meadow, it became clear that it was going to be slippery. The CX specialists took off quickly and already here I noticed that my tire choice and pressure were not right. On the tarmac climb after this I managed to regain places only to be punished again on the cobbled sections by the too hard pressure. The cobbled sections were followed by a technical and slippery climb and descent through a dark forest. Several riders went down here and unfortunately I also saw people lying in the ambulance.

After this stretch of descending and climbing through the forest, a descent towards the festival grounds in Aachen followed over paved and gravel sections. By lap four I had lost the connection with the top 3 in my category, due to still some fatigue from last race in Denmark. I rode out my own race at a high pace and for the third time I reached the qualification limit. It resulted in a nice 5th place in exactly four hours of hammering. In my age category, Thijs Zonneveld won won with a whopping 10-minute lead over 2022 gravel world champion Henning Bommel from Germany.

3RIDES Radmarathon

by Herman Nekkers

Sunday I rode the 3RIDES Radmarathon of 200 kilometers. It is also possible to ride 140 or 170 kilometers. Almost all day the sun was shining brightly. The first 90 kilometers took me through the most beautiful places in the Eifel. As a change from the mostly long, running climbs, the extremely steep Widdauer Mauer was included in the route. The Ruhrsee is a jewel of the Eifel and the view from the long descent was breathtaking. Every effort had been made to depict this area as beautifully as possible and it was more than successful.

This was followed by the Ardennes. I know this area well, but was still surprised by a large number of new roads and climbs. Through the 'Hoge Venen' region, you enter the highest area of Belgium. The descent to Malmedy is really one of the most beautiful roads in Belgium. This is a real gem, also as a climb by the way. Immediately following is the monster climb of the Ferme Libert, together with the Widdauer Mauer the only really tough climb of the day. And that's just fine. The Franconchamps race track drew attention in the form of noise and smell, as a racing event was just underway. Also very special was the crossing of the Barrage de La Gileppe. Only note: if the bad Walloon road surface is cultural Belgian heritage, they have spared no expense to depict it extensively.

Next up was South Limburg, The Netherlands. Instead of the usual suspects like the Loorberg or the Camerig, mostly tiny roads have been chosen. Very original. There is not much climbing anymore in Limburg. And before I realise, I see Aachen again. Unfortunately there is still a bit of rain, but it's very little. After 206 kilometers and almost 3000 meters of climbing I roll over the finish line of the extensive festival area. Here the atmosphere is good and the beer tastes perfect. In summary: the organization is extremely relaxed, the routes very original and the supplies excellent. All in all, a tour that deserves more participants.

3RIDES Gravel Ride

by Frank Jansen

On the same day as the Radmarathon, fans of dirt roads can opt for the Gravel Ride 120. There is also a shorter version of 80 km. As we know, there has been a lot of rain in recent weeks, fortunately today the weather is beautiful. Not knowing the terrain well, I decide to start on the MTB. In hindsight a good choice, because there were some pretty technical sections in the route! Still, it was certainly doable on a gravel bike as well. The route was a mix of forest trails, hardpack forest roads, singletracks, grass fields, unpaved farm roads and asphalt. So something for everyone!

Because I start early, I ride alone most of the day. Occasionally you have that typical "I am alone in the world feeling" which is what makes gravel riding so beautiful! The highlight was the unpaved climb from the village of Simonskall (see photo). The various panoramas of the Eifel are wonderful, and so close to home. After just under 6 hours and 2100 meters of climbing, I roll back onto the festival grounds after a wonderful day of suffering. A great day!

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