|May 15, 2019||Harlingen||682.0||Hoorn||900.0||218.0 km|
Yesterday I met Wietse’s family who live in Harlingen. I was looking forward to this and it proved to be a trip highlight.
I departed from Harlingen at 0700 with the plan to take the bus across the Afsluitdijk. It closed to bicycle traffic on April 1st due to construction and upgrades for a period of three years. Although open to vehicular traffic, bicycles are required to use a shuttle bus.
The 32 km of the Afsluitdijk was part of the original route. With the announcement of the closure, the race organizers adjusted the route to run south around the IJsselmeer and Markermeer to Amsterdam and then north to rejoin the original route near the west end of the Afsluitdijk.
Race participants electing to take the bus across the Afsluitdijk were assessed a 24 hour penalty but it allowed those unable to change travel plans or return-to-work dates a way to meet those timelines. My plan leaving Harlingen was to take the bus.
Today proved one of those with a great start. I had a good tail wind and dropped into my driving grove quickly. For fear of loosing details of my event, I started an audio recorder on my iPhone and was making notes from the previous days. I became so engaged in the ride and making my notes that I missed the turnoff to the Afsluitdijk. I discovered this about 3 km after the turnoff and decided to stay on course an go through Amsterdam.
At this point I was around the 700 km marker which meant there was 1,200 km to the finish taking the longer route. With 5 days to go, if I picked up the average daily distance, I calculated that I could make the finish. Spoiler Alert – this proved to be a mistake. Ah well – lesson learned for RATN2020!
Regardless, this proved to become my best day of the race. I’m glad I made this decision. Towns like Makkum, Gasst, Workum, Hinderloopen, Stavoren, Lemmer, Urk, and Lelystad are so picturesque they could easily be used as a movie set. I particularly enjoyed riding by all the windmills lined up on the dykes and with the wind at my back.
I arrived at MadMen Bicycles and Coffee around the supper hour, had some wonderful food, and had Kermit tuned up. This is really a terrific place to have a stop on the race. The staff are terrific and the work of high quality. A big shout out.
About 60 km later is the town of Hoorn. I decided to stay their for the night. A huge shout-out to Norbert Cuiper, a board member of Cycling club Hoornse Ren en Toerclub. He met me after dark to allow me access to their facilities as a location to camp for the night. It was highly appreciated.
After my longest distance day, I was asleep as soon as I laid down in my tent. It was a good day.