On the way

We are on the road again with Team SD Worx. I am currently writing out off the team bus on my way to La Course, the women’s one day race of the Tour de France.

I think I was only home for a few hours. Yet I was already 1,5 weeks in the Netherlands. Time passed quickly, probably also because I was on the road a lot in the Netherlands. I had many appointments, and I rode the Dutch Time Trial Championship and the Dutch Road Championship.

Last Monday I spent a day at Papendal with Annemiek, Anna and Marianne. This is where we first came together as an Olympic team for Tokyo 2021. The schedule included: a training session in the heat room, trying on clothes (which meant trying on a lot of clothes), a 2nd vaccination and having blood drawn. Having this blood drawn was to see how we were doing after altitude training. Taking blood is always on the schedule after an altitude internship to see what the altitude has done to you. For example, in your blood results you can see whether your iron level is still good and whether it is not too low.

We also had a meeting where we learned more about how and what to expect in Tokyo, which was very interesting. To close the day at Papendal, there was another press moment.

The heat room was again waived. I had already done this (or undergone haha) once in 2019, then as a volunteer. They wanted to see what the expected heat in Tokyo actually does to you as an athlete and what influence it can have on your performance. In 2019 we first had a test in a cold room and later again in a blood-hot room with a humidity of 70%.

Fun facts: my first test at Papendal in 2019 was just after my third place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In this race it had been very wet and cold and the test in the heat chamber was a real ‘shock for the body’. However, this first time (voluntary) testing for Tokyo was also the first time I had an appointment and conversation with Annemiek. She was also tested at the same time. Annemiek already knew me a bit from that podium in LBL 2019, where she won.

Now it was time again for the heat chamber test and again I was sitting there with Annemiek next to me on the Tacx, all this time as a real part of the team that is going to Tokyo. Nobody could have imagined this back then in 2019.

In 2019, the test of about an hour consisted of driving different wattages. The wattage kept increasing from time to time. I can tell you: this was no fun at all…!

Now in 2021, the test consisted of an hour of leisurely cycling, which is still no fun. The first 30 minutes are fine, but after 30 minutes your body temperature rises significantly, and your heart rate also increases. It also becomes mentally tougher, because your body actually just says: ‘Eey, it’s time to cool down, dude!’ After the first 30 minutes, the time goes terribly slow. A thought of hope: in Tokyo we will have (driving) wind – unlike in the heat room. Hopefully that makes it a little better. You can of course also imagine that you sweat terribly in hot weather, but with such high humidity in the air, you sweat a lot more! Your sweat does not evaporate at all. After an hour on the Tacx in 32 degrees, there was a large puddle of moisture under our bikes. Before we got on the bike we had a weigh-in moment and again after cycling, to see how much we had sweated and how many liters of fluid we had lost. I drank 1 liter of water on the Tacx in the heat room, but that same hour, cycling calmly, I also lost 1.2 liters of fluid. That means nothing more than that we will have to drink a lot in Tokyo!!


This test day was on the road on the Monday after the Dutch Championships and all in all a busy day. Tuesday, I had an interview and photoshoot for the magazine Helden. In this interview it was about my `roots` and very cool pictures were taken at my home in the Netherlands. This was super fun to do and I can’t wait to see the result. If you are also curious, keep an eye on the next edition of the magazine Helden!

Furthermore, on Tuesday I had ‘just’ completed a tough training session and I brought my friend to Amsterdam at the end of the afternoon. He took a night train from there back to Switzerland. It was short and we were busy, but it was very nice to be together again. In the coming period I will be on the road a lot and we will see each other very little. Perhaps occasionally in the Giro Rosa, because he will be there on a cycling holiday with a friend during this week.

Today and tomorrow, I am on my way to La Course by Le Tour de France. The competition is next Saturday 26.06.2021. After the race we will travel further to Italy, where we will prepare a few more days, for the start of the Giro Donne on 02.07.2021. During the Giro Donne I will try to give some small updates per day about what I’m experiencing. So keep following me along!


After the Giro Rosa, the focus will immediately switch to the Olympic Games. After the Giro Rosa I will be home in NL for a while, after which we will soon fly to Tokyo. A busy period, but one that I hope I will remember forever. I’m very curious how things will go there in Tokyo, completely on the other side of the world.



Demi Vollering

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