Thijs Zonneveld once wrote about Wilco Kelderman that he does not exist. The clue was that Kelderman was so good that he should be left alone to grow into a cycling celebrity. Just by telling people that Kelderman didn't exist, he naturally drew attention to him, with the exact result that he did become the center of attention. I have this same dilemma now with this piece. The LCMT is such a brilliant multi-day cycling event that I actually don't want it to get any busier or bigger next year than the current 800 participants across the various parts. As far as I'm concerned, the LCMT doesn't exist!
Anyone who has started reading now: the LCMT is a multiple day cycling event. Participants can choose for three days of gran fondo riding, three days of mountain biking, a four day combination of these two or the multi-day cross-duathlon or triathlon. LCMT stands for "They Love Cycling, Mountain biking and Triathlons". And it is especially this obvious love for all things cycling that makes this event truly fantastic. Two years of coronavirus and numerous difficulties with organizing this edition didn't stop the organizatio. Thanks to clever collaborations with the local soccer club (start and finish location) and the Fleche de Wallonie sportive on Saturday. It also took a few sleepless nights and the necessary persistence to secure the necessary permits for a total of four days of cycling from Stavelot.
I may - along with over 150 others - participate in the "gran fondo". That means three days of testing myself through the Walloon Ardennes. It's not a race, because according to the law it can't be organised like that, but it does have all the characteristics of a race. And certainly among the participants who have chosen the time measurement option, there is competitive riding. A ranking is also made and the participant with the fastest, finally added time gets a souvenir to take home. For those who have booked before me, the organization also offers the possibility to book a hotel with breakfast and dinner. Others who - like me - arrive Thursday morning, will find a breakfast when picking up the start package.
The routes are challenging with tricky climbs like the Rosier, Haute Levée, Stockeu, the Chambralles and the Thier de Coo, which is the dessert of the stage each day. After the Coo, it's another 7.5 kilometers downhill to the soccer field in Stavelot where pancakes, recovery drinks and sandwiches are waiting. What makes the LCMT really unique is the atmosphere. It's a kind of festival, at which I get an "Eliza-was-here" feeling: at the LCMT, you'll find everything you weren't looking for, but want to find in a cycling event. Challenging yourself, togetherness, no pushing and pulling, excellent accompaniment of the race, a festival feeling at the arrival, tough stories, dirty MTB-ers, massages and most of all, a lot of love and passion for the bike!
At the LCMT, you'll find everything you weren't looking for, but want to find in a cycling event
Or as organizer Kurt Titeca says: "The love for the bike, love for the nature in which cycling is connected to comradery which always has to win from the individual urge to prove himself in the 'race part'. That was the case when I launched the event in 1999. And as the speaker, I repeated that a few times: Everyone's a winner, that's LCMT, each according to his own expectations and ability. And afterwards, we can drink a 'Chouffe' to seal the achievement, mutual appreciation and friendships."
I hope for Kurt and the rest of the organization that next year they have less trouble putting the whole thing together. I hope for myself that you didn't read this article and that next year it won't suddenly be an average mass event. This unique cycling festival should stay what it is! Come and cycle in the Ascension weekend, but participate in the Maxime Montfort Classic, the Klimclassic or the Waalse Pijl
But the LCMT? It doesn't exist!