For many of us it is already unimaginable to cover the distance of a single Grand Tour. We are all the more impressed by Erik Horsthemke's latest project. At just 20 years old, our Project Horizon athlete has set himself the goal of completing all three Grand Tours of cycling, including all transfer routes, on the bike. Without outside support.
He has just reached the first milestone. After around 7,300 kilometers with almost 80,000 meters of altitude difference, he has mastered the Giro D'Italia. Every day he sat in the saddle for about 10 hours and covered an average of 235 km. As if that wasn't enough, within a week he was hit by a car and mugged by a stranger.
Erik has written a guest article in which he introduces himself and gives impressions of his first stage.
Next up for him is Copenhagen, where the Tour de France will start this year.
Who am I?
Hey, I'm Eric. I'm 20 years old, I'm from Gütersloh, I graduated from high school in 2020 and I was still doing classic cycling until a year ago. Through stations like RSC Rietberg and later RSV Gütersloh, I slipped into the state squad, which in the following years made me part of the U19 Bundesliga squad. Since the end of last year, I've moved away from racing a bit. I just want to try something new. To do things that didn't exist before and maybe try to inspire a few people or even enrich cycling a bit.
What am I doing?
Normal doesn't convince me. Actually, I'm always looking for something new. At any moment, around every corner, something can happen that I have not experienced or seen before. I think that's what makes cycling and long-distance cycling so appealing to me. There has to be something else between training and studying, right? That's what I asked myself, at least after I finished high school.
So I started a project based on Lachlan Morton's Alt Tour, which certainly didn't exist before. In 2022 I will ride the three biggest cycling races in the world, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España including the transfer route and without support. In total, there is a distance of over 20,000 km and over 220,000 meters in altitude to be mastered.
A task that no one has ever mastered.
At the time of this blog post, the Giro has already been completed. I had to drive almost 7,300 kilometers and 80,000 meters in altitude to finally arrive in Verona. In some moments, training or studying seemed much easier to me than pushing your body to its absolute limit for 30 days at a time. Some days just go by themselves. The weather is great, the elevation profile looks reasonably humane and there is enough food and drink. The world seems perfect. Other days I had to force my legs to move at all. In just one week I was hit by a car, mugged by a homeless man and hit a stationary scooter at 30km/h. By the end of that week I had abrasions all over my body. My feet were open from below, so every step hurt. I could hardly stay on the bike because I had only slept a handful of hours for days. But I knew if I got through this, it wouldn't get any worse. And so it was. In the end, as planned, I rolled into Verona on May 28th.
Why am I doing what I'm doing?
Basically simply because I'm in the mood for it. I want to see something of the world, be sporty, do something new, experience something, change something, be socially involved. I now feel like all of these things are included in my project. It makes me incredibly happy and at the same time proud to be able to do what I feel like doing.
What do I want to stand for?
I want to inspire or motivate to want to change something. Of course, not everyone has to do something that no one has ever done before. But each is capable of one of their own extraordinary feats. You just have to start and persevere.
What am I volunteering for?
Together with the independent organization VivaConAgua, which is committed to building wells in needy areas in order to guarantee everyone clean drinking water, I am using my project TripleAltTour to collect money for this good cause. It is particularly important to me that my project does not just remain a pure sports project. If I already have a small reach, then I can also use it for a good cause.
So: If you want to support me and my project, you can find the link to my fundraiser on my website erik-horsthemke.de .