This year the start of the Giro was in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. ( As we journey here together you will learn more about my bicycle racing adventures. ) The day before the start a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to bike the roughly 100km round trip to see the start. I, of course, said YES!
I like to sleep, so we didn’t head out too early, around 1030 I suppose. To be honest, I really don’t recall anymore though I do remember what a beautiful hot summer day it was in the dutch springtime. Bright blue skies, with hardly a cloud in them and heat that warms the marrow in your bones. It is usually pretty quiet on the roads on Friday but this day was actually really busy, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise you. The advise from the organization was if you lived in a 50km radius from the start point leave the car at home, forget the public transport and take your bike! Thats just what we did.
It was hot, we were tired and there were 1000’s of people wandering around admiring all the bikes, the gear and the people. My pal and I decided to see what was happening inside. We stood in line, had our bags checked, I suppose for weapons or something and then walked several flights of stairs to the top of the arena. We were lucky enough to catch the start of Twente’s very own Bram Tankink, ‘The Beast from the East’ as they call him. It was pretty great to see considering Apeldoorn is so close to his home, there were many, many fans there. My friend suggested I film his start, which I did and of course, tweeted it and to my surprise and pleasure Bram re-tweeted it to his fans. Was kinda cool to be for just a moment connected to him on such an amazing day.
There was so much to see, and so much to take in. The King of Holland was there that day, King Willem Alexander van Oranje-Nassau, news reportes, tv stations such a hub-bub of activity.
After watching the start we picked up our bikes and rode the short 3km ride to the last corner of the track and watched the last few cyclists battle it out for the win. It had been a long day and we were hot and tired but we stood with the crowd on the road side and waited, and watched for the precious few miliseconds that a cyclist would zoom by. Dutchman Tom Dumoulin won that day, I just read that today he dropped out of the race, such a shame after such an outstanding beginning.
2 and a half hours on the bike to get there, 5 hours in the hot sun to watch these athletes use thier bodies and tools to the max and then another 2 and a hald hours to bike home.
I. Was. Done. Yet I still had to cycle home, the first 16km were torture, wind in my face, sunkissed, over stimulated and exhausted I said: BIERTJ! So we stopped in Deventer at a small little Balinese cafe and had a beer in the evening sun. Just what my muscles needed to relax and make it the rest of the way home.
Once home, I showered and washed the road and the wind from my skin, I smiled to myself, I did it! 100km in a day! And what a day it was. Untill next time.