Thursday, Holy Thursday, 6:30 AM... the alarm clock sounds. Which nut case thought of this? I was planning to do the 31th Northern Roundtrip on the bike. There were four different 'flavors', 25, 50, 75 and 150 kilometer. After I fixed my bread with cheese, jam and a freshly baked egg it was time to leave. Away I go to the start at SC Loppersum, some 31 kilometers away. When I entered the terrain I saw a familiar face. It was Anton L. with his white mountainbike. When I asked where his real bike was he said that he sold his Quest last week (waiting for his new QuestXS). That's why he took his mountainbike and he would only say goodby to his cycling buddies. Well...

On my arrival in Loppersum I also noticed a Flevo Racer close to my bike. They have no steer and front wheel drive. It's not easy to learn how to ride one of those bikes. Anyway, after I picked up my participation form I could be on my way. Ready to cycle 150 kilometers (that was the largest amount they had). Once we left Loppersum we entered the open fields and I could finally pick up some speed. The first racing cyclists were quickly overtaken (it wouldn't be the last of the day, I lost count, but it were probably a couple of hundred). The route was signed with little yellow signs which were sometimes easy to miss. Than you would end up at a intersection with no idea where to go. Let's take a gamble. Fortunately I wasn't the only one who missed a sign. On the participation form it also mentioned all the little villages we would go though. That made it easy to get back on route should you get lost. After Uithuizen I entered Doodstil (deadly quiet). And it was indeed very quiet. No cyclist in sight. At the next junction I was lost again. The yellow participation form said I had to go to Zandeweer. Gee, a lot of cyclists here. And they are all going the opposite direction. Did I... ? Yep, I was going the wrong way.

After the second check point in Fraamklap I noticed a group of cyclists and two cars standing still just after a corner. I slowed down and when I drove by I saw a woman lying still on the ground next to her bike. It turned out that she had been hit by a tractor OR she got startled by it and fell. According to RTV Noord (the local news station) they could trace down the driver of the tractor using Burgernet (a network of citizens who could be alerted to look out for a person).

About half way I saw something in the distance that looked like a recumbent (what do you mean, you can't see them properly?). It turned out that it was the Flevo Racer which I saw at the start. Karel V. was his name and he could keep up with me (around 30 km/h). In Zoutkamp, around 90 kilometers, we had a lunch break. You could pick different kind of soups and sandwiches. I decided to go for a glass of coke and some sugar bread (a local speciality). The coke was fine (a big glass), but the piece of bread was gone after two bites. That's why we (Karel and me) ordered a big piece of apple pie with whipped cream and something to drink. After a toilet break we would head to again and I found out that Karel paid for my food. I'll buy him a glass of liquid carbs at the finish, I though.

During the tour we had to overtake different groups of racing cyclists. I'm telling you, half of those guys are deaf or not paying attention. You could ring your bell of sound your horn all you want, they don't hear you. Also yelling 'behind you' had little (direct) effect. That made overtaking very slow and sometimes dangerous. In the last stretch from Groningen to Loppersum it almost went sour. We were riding on a fairly narrow cycle path and I had to overtake a group of racing cyclists. It went slowly and I could make out two (elderly) cyclists coming our way. I kept yelling 'behind you' so they would move aside and with 45+ km/h I could just squeeze though, almost hitting the two other cyclists. I will probably be cursed by the two groups, saying: 'recumbent riders are dangerous', ah, well...

All in all it was a very nice ride and together with the ride to and from the start I rode 210 kilometers. The ride itself (around 150 kilometers) went rather quickly. A average of 32.5 km/h

Noorderrondrit op de fiets 2012 - medal