I’m currently staying on the holderness peninsula for a few days and it’s about as flat as it gets. There are some minor undulations, I think I rode a 35ft climb in the big ring earlier, but that’s positively mountainous. I was on a recovery ride, 20 miles spinning, but the average speed crept up to around 19 mph, despite my best intentions. It felt odd not having hills to interrupt the rhythm or assault the legs and lungs, and the cadence felt beautifully smooth, lots of souplesse.
Oddly enough, alpe d’huez is sometimes called ‘the dutch mountain’ because so many riders from the pan-flat Netherlands have won there; it’s a curious anomaly. Robert gesink is also an accomplished grimpeur, adding to the geographical oxymoron. It may have something to do with resistance training. Even on a balmy day I could feel the latent potency of the wind loitering over the north sea. I suspect, beautiful as it seems today, holderness has the capacity to dispirit and destroy cyclists.