This series is about the successful attempt of doing the Ronde van Nederland in four days, in total of 1300 km on a bike.
I left the accommodation at around 6:20AM right after my morning routine, which turned out to be a rookie mistake since I didn’t check the ferry schedule all I knew was that they started service at 6 in the morning. It made me believe, just like many times before, there would be ferries leaving every 10 minutes to get to the other side.
Well they didn’t, it was a longer ferry ride, through Europort, the port of Rotterdam. At the port the realization just hit me that true the first ferry left at 6:00AM but the next one left at 7:00AM, so I had a nice 30 minutes to kill in the morning cold, which I could have spent at the accommodation. I didn’t mind, since it was the last day, I left in the morning thinking whatever happened I would get home today no matter what.
After a lovely 6-kilometer ferry ride, the actual trip started from Maasvlakte that day. Frosted grass, early morning sun rays and cool West wind accompanied me on the Europort. Getting in the mood for cycling wasn’t easy this day either, but I’d had worst.
I woke up completely when I reached the first hydroelectric dam, this was between Rokanje and Stellendam. I took a little time there, I had a closer look at those famous “dijks” which are in fact “dams” since there is water on both sides of them. It wasn’t a simple system for sure, I didn’t see it in action though I wouldn’t like to be here when it is necessary to close the flood gate to stop the seawater from flooding into the delta of the river. I took a few pictures and kept going.
Then I was pedaling through the region of Zeeland which is a popular destination among tourists. I saw numerous cars with mostly German license plates on the way. So many camps all over the place but they were totally different from the ones I had seen in Portugal or Hungary before.
They were more like small villages, with grocery shops, bakeries, clubs, cafés within the walls. It was a bit shocking to me what great measures tourism took in that area. It wasn’t that surprising though, based on what I saw, that region was really peaceful almost Mediterranean atmosphere, no massive industrial areas like in the rest of Netherland.
A calm, peaceful, a bit crowded bicycle road took me all the way to Westkapelle which was the most Northern point of my trip. Here at the light tower I had my usual lunch. I felt the need to tune on my bike a bit more, since the pain in my knee didn’t seem to cease, plus my ankle started hurt too, so I thought I would change the angle of the cleats on the pedals a tiny bit. I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, I thought that was the source of the problem.
With days of constant physical exertion not proper settings can cause such problems. I must admit it didn’t get much better but maybe just knowing the fact that I changed some of the settings triggered placebo effect. Now I know (a month later) that the damage had already happened there the only thing that could have helped was resting which was not an option at that time.
I reached a mental turning point then, from that point on I was pedaling home and this fact could lift my spirits. I could taste sweet victory in my mouth mixed with a bit of sardine and cereal bar. It gave me an extra boost and I didn’t even stop til I get to Kruiningen, then I had another down which I tried to fix with another can of fish and an energy bar.
Finally at home!
I had been pedaling for 181 kilometers by then and I started to feel that the way home would be really long. I will not go into details on the remaining 148 kilometers to Geldrop (where we will be living til the end of May). Let’s just say that was a huge “DOWN” and I would not like to bitter my post up by talking about the suffering and torture and had to go through.
Home!I arrived to Eindhoven around 9:00 PM, from there I still had 10 kilometers to go to get home. The area was familiar I was happy, I arrived, I made it. I was hoping nothing horrible would happen in the last short part of the trip. Luckily nothing did.
I took turn to our street and I saw the houses and the cars I knew, I shifted the bike into parking and rolled in to our door and quietly knocked on the door. Barbi was waiting for me with her arms open and she hugged and kissed me for long. I was holding on to her since I was out of energy by then, it felt great to be back home.
Nice and great and all but I wouldn’t recommend anybody to do this trip at this pace, only those with great experience. In hindsight I think for a well prepared cyclist it should take 6 days to complete the Dutch round trip, this way you can have enough time to look around too yet still keeping the tour sporty.
For less prepared cyclists I would recommend 7-9 days to complete the trip, this way you can enjoy it way more on every level. The tour itself was amazing, I saw plenty of beautiful and interesting places and met a lot of friendly and nice people. I did 1225 kilometers in 4 days, and the best part of this whole thing is that I could do 98% of it on bicycle roads, this place for people who love cycling is second to none.
Soon I will be posting on a bit of different topic, since at the end of May we are moving back to Portugal and we will start on our Wheel Nuts Cyclotouring project for real. You will get an insight to that the next few weeks.
Thank you very much for your attention, see you in Portugal!