Last Saturday was the 17th edition of the Oliebollentocht, a ride for velomobiles. The plan was to cycle to the start in Zwolle on Friday evening, stay there for the night and ride back home after the ride on Saturday. But as is often the case, the plan didn't work out that way.

Friday evening after working I got into my velomobile around half past four and headed for Zwolle. I first cycled towards Assen to take the Drentse Hoofdvaart towards Meppel. Doing that is about 65 to 70% of the route. Because it was dark and rainy every once in a while I couldn't see a thing because of the blinding headlights of the oncoming cars on my glasses. I also started to cycle slower and slower. Cycling in the dark can be very tiring because you have to stay focused. That's why I wanted to get something to eat at a café/restaurant in Havelte at the corner by the bridge, but it was closed. And because I also really 'had to go' I went into the bushes just down the road. Cycling long distances improves your skill to do so. So I went and looked for the next available opportunity to eat. The Three Limekilns just before Meppel seemed nice. Enfin, after a good meal and drinks and about 27 to 28 km/h with a headwind towards Zwolle went pretty good.

It took me almost four hours. Normally I can do it in about three and a half ours. I took a hot shower, some cola and a 'oliebol', chatted with old acquaintances, rolled out my sleeping mat and went to sleep. The alarm clock would wake me the next morning at seven for breakfast.

I really didn't get a good night sleep and besides being tired I now also had diarrhea, a 'knot' in my stomach and as a bonus a occasional headache. No appetite for breakfast, but I managed to eat a couple of sandwiches (one with egg) and some yogurt with cruesli. Once in the outside air and in the bike I felt better. De Vrolijkheid (where the start/finish is) was only a few kilometers from where I spent the night (at Quesjer). Excellent planning. On arrival I mostly interfered opening and closing the gate to keep velomobiles and traffic regulator in and keep cars with trailers out. They must park a bit down the road.

Then was the start. There were four different groups cycling at different speeds ranging from 23 to 29 km/h. I joined the first group (the fastest) to be back on time so that I could cycle home afterwards. The ride was only 60 kilometers, but they were very nice. Despite myself not being not 100% fit (tired, remember) we encountered nice dikes, went past mills and through small village centers with cobblestone roads. Thanks to the traffic regulators who were standing on different busy intersections we could keep cycling on and cross the road safely. After a short break half way with a cup of tea and apple pie with whipped cream we eventually got back to the starting point where we received a delicious cup of pea soup and three oliebollen. I gave away the last of the three oliebollen because I was having a major dip and I've lost my appetite. Because cycling home wasn't a option I asked Paulus if I could stay a extra night. "No problem!" was the typical Paulus-like reaction.

After cycling back to the start location I freshened myself up by taking a hot shower and lying down on the couch to get some rest. Not much later four velonauts arrived with some Thai food. The decided not to eat with the rest of the group at De Vrolijkheid. When they had almost finished their meal I asked if I could have some of their leftovers. I couldn't finish a full plate and the leftovers were good enough. Now I felt much better, also because of the company and the warm heater. Good enough to play a game of Machiavelli. I didn't win but I had a hour of fun. So, off to bed because the next morning the alarm clock would sound at seven again. Together with Harry L. I would cycle back to Groningen. This time with a good tail wind blowing us home.