Adam Hansen stands out in the peloton for his self-made custom cycling shoes and his record for the highest consecutive number of Grand Tours finishes (currently 13). It seems he is also different to many of his teammates at Lotto Soudal when it comes to choosing his end of season holidays. While most riders headed somewhere sunny or spend time with their families, Hansen went to the Himalayas for some high-altitude hiking.
The Australian won the coveted People's Choice award at the recent Cycling Australia awards night and sent his thank you message from the Everest base camp via a satellite telephone. According to the Lotto Soudal team website, he has spent close to two weeks in the mountains.
“The hiking in the Himalaya is comparable with a Grand Tour; you physically suffer multiple days to get to the finish. During the hiking trips, the finish is on the top of the mountain. During bike races, the last day of a Tour is the ultimate finish. This adventure gives me the required energy to try finishing all the Grand Tours again next year,” Hansen explained as the Belgian team caught up with several riders about their off-season activities.
“The past twelve days I was in Nepal. I did some long hiking tours from four to eight hours a day. I climbed four mountain passes in the Himalaya. First Gokyo, a mountain top at 5,357 metres above sea level. Second, I climbed the 5,420 metres high Cho La Pass and to finish I went to the Mount Everest Base Camp.
“These tours are a real adventure. You’re one with the surroundings and also for the body it’s a hard job. This trip to the Himalaya will boost my form. The long hiking tours are ideal to sharpen the form; physically it’s pretty demanding.”
Hansen will soon return to his home in the Czech Republic and is convinced that his extreme hiking will leave him ready for winter training.
“I will start the training camp in December with better form than in the past years. Even though I haven’t ridden my bike since the last race, I feel that my form comes back. Just before we travel to Majorca, I will start riding my bike,” he promised.