Ronde van Nederland: Report IV.

Morning in FrieslandMorning in FrieslandThis series is about the successful attempt of doing the Ronde van Nederland in four days, in total of 1300 km on a bike.

A magyar verzióhoz kattints ide.

Day 3:

HarlingenHarlingenDay 3 didn’t set off so smoothly. Firstly I woke up earlier than I was supposed to. Secondly the first morning movements caused pain in my left knee plus I could feel my left hand, my pinky finger and my ring finger were really numb. I was hoping these symptoms would pass during the night by the morning, but they didn’t. Who cares it wasn’t that bad anyway, with a bit of worrying in my head I started packing and had a nice breakfast. The night before my hosts were kind enough to prepare my breakfast ahead since they don’t get up as early as the time I left, they didn’t want me to leave with an empty stomach. Caring like this always feels good. Packing, breakfast, a selfie and I could set off before 7:00 AM.

HarlingenHarlingenFog and cold were waiting for me on the road and it was all calm and silent. It was about 2-3 °C, mixed with the humid seaside air it wasn’t that pleasant. I was going to try pedaling faster than usual, to warm my body up a bit, but my body didn’t feel like working that day at all. It felt like I got rusty during the night, it took every part of my body much effort to get in motion, it wasn’t that bad, but bad enough to make me feel uncomfortable. It was hard to keep the pedal rev, I was wiggling on the seat I couldn’t find the right position and I didn’t know how to keep my numb fingers on the handlebar. The first 60-70 kilometers were torture until I got to Harling. Because of this I couldn’t really focus on my surroundings, but Friesland is a pretty interesting place. The sight wasn’t really different from what I had experienced before, it seemed like a more abandoned region. But also it was easy to see how important keeping their traditions was to them. My hosts told me the night before how sad Fries language transforming into Dutch more and more was. For them, Dutch is only the second language. It could have been a nice interesting cultural stop for me if I’d had a bit more time for that.

The best coffee along the journeyThe best coffee along the journeyBy the time I reached Harling the Sun was shining, and the wind started to blow, lucky for me, it was blowing from the best direction possible, from North. After a quick snack I continued my trip and I arrived to the Afsluitdijk which I had been looking forward to curiously. A 32-kilometer long bank which the Dutch took up a big part of the sea with. From a biker point of view it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, for the first few kilometers I was amazed by this engineering miracle but after a while I got bored of it. At one third of the distance I felt the need for a coffee at a gas station. Morning coffee never tasted better before, it brought on the spirit I needed and my focus too. I did the remaining 20 kilometers from the Afsluitdijk then getting back to the “mainland” I passed through the village of Anna Paulowna and headed for the seaside.

14 cylinder airplane engines as garden decoration :)14 cylinder airplane engines as garden decoration :)From this point on, my official route was as close to the sea as possible. Near Sint Maartenszee I had my usual canned fish lunch then kept going until I reached the most entertaining spot of my trip. An area with forests and dunes was up next, right between Groet and Zandvoort, on the North coast of Netherlands. As a real Mountain Biker I welcomed gladly the roller coaster like hilly bike roads. It is a really popular place, many people come here to do sports or as “tourists”. From my point of view, the only problem with this nearly 60-kilometer long stage was the parts with cobbles. It didn’t help my already injured palm. But the amazing view of white sand dunes and pine forests totally made up for it. It was unforgettable.

I arrived to Zandvoort around 4:00 PM, where I stopped by for some local treat on the beach. I was gazing beautiful seaside with joy while I had a platter of “Kibbeling” (a typical Dutch treat, pieces of fried cod fish with garlic sauce – editor). There were more and more tourists there, by looking at the cars you would have thought you were in Germany. I kept hearing German speech everywhere I turned. I set off with a full stomach, it almost felt like I was sailing as the back wind got so strong, lucky for me. It showed on my stats too, I did a 26km/h average speed on 286 kilometers. It was a great way to regenerate, at least that was what I thought then.

Zandvoort beachZandvoort beachThere was still daylight when I arrived to Hoek van Holland at 7:00 PM. Back when I was planning the trip, the destination of Day 3 caused a bit of dilemma, since the last ferry left Hoek van Holland for Maasvlakte at 7:00 PM in the evening, I wasn’t sure I could catch that. So I chose not to take a chance, I decided Day 3 would be the shortest but I would surely have a roof over my head for the evening. In hindsight I would have made it but only with those certain weather conditions I was lucky to have and with a bit faster speed too. It was all for the best, I had more time to relax this way and I had a chance to talk with my host. To me it is a big thing, to other may not, but while we were talking he asked if I was coming from South Netherland, because of my accent. I answered proudly that I was a foreigner. I was full of pride, for the very first time it happened to me that after I started speaking Dutch to somebody I wasn’t asked what country I was from but which region of Netherland I was from. To me it was the second highlight of the day beside the sand dunes. Learned from the experiences I gained the past few days I prepared everything I could for the next morning so I could set off as fast as possible and I was already sleeping like a baby by 9:00 PM.

For me the next day held a ferry ride, sunshine, pedaling 330 kilometers and the anxeity to reach home. To be continued, til then you can read the prequel posts!


Photo gallery on Flickr
Instagram "live feed" #wncNLchallenge

Previous posts:
Preparation for something bigger
Ronde van Nederland
Ronde van Nederland: The Saddlebag
Ronde van Nederland: Three days to go
Ronde van Nederland: Done!
Ronde van Nederland: Report I.
Ronde van Nederland: Diploma
Ronde van Nederland: Report II.
Ronde van Nederland: Report III.